Publish date: 16 May 2023

Dear colleague,

We write to you to provide an update with regards to the ongoing organisational change programme in respect of the Whalley retraction. We have made great progress during recent collaborative discussions with neighbouring Trusts namely Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Trust, Lancashire Teaching Hospital, East Lancashire NHS Trust, in relation to our organisational change process. Work is underway to engage any further local Trusts.

Clearing House

Collectively we have now agreed the principles of the Clearing House, details of which Mersey Care divisional managers have previously shared with you. You will be aware that the aim of the clearing house is to successfully re-deploy any colleague unable to join us at Aspen Wood, in suitable alternative employment with another local Trust. This will enable us to retain knowledge, skills and experience within the wider NHS family and to prevent any redundancy situation.

We are pleased to update you on some of the arrangements discussed and agreed at a recent meeting with these Trusts.

Discussions with neighbouring NHS Trusts

Neighbouring Trusts have been positive and supportive to this proposed process and appreciate the benefits of retaining skills, experience etc in the NHS as a whole, recognising the benefits to their own Trust. Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust (LSCFT) have committed to holding vacancies that may be suitable for our colleagues and most recently Support Worker posts on the Whalley site. They have requested information about the regions of Lancashire where our colleagues live that may support them in identifying further vacancies across their Lancashire footprint to ensure that vacancies are held and not advertised externally in the first instance. We are appreciative of this support. Furthermore, LSCFT offered to arrange visits to the Whalley site to meet our colleagues to provide some further information about their Trust, their services, to discuss future opportunities, offer orientation days with their Trust, and to generally spend time within clinical disciplines. We feel this would be hugely beneficial and an excellent introduction to their service areas and we will endeavour to update you on those details once a date has been arranged. We envisage this will be arranged for end of May / early June.

Re-deployment process

The most recent collaborative meeting was held week commencing 17 April to agree the process for re-deploying colleagues which is fair and equitable to all. It has been agreed that all colleagues being considered for alternative roles outside of Mersey Care will be required to complete a standard application form via the ‘TRAC’ recruitment system in respect of any vacancies within the clearing house. The reasoning behind this is that this is the process currently used for internal re-deployment for those colleagues deemed ‘at risk’ via an organisational change process. TRAC is a safe and reliable system to process suitably, and a system used by all NHS Trusts ensuring that information can transfer easily, without risk. We can ensure that colleagues are provided with support using this system, including written material. We have agreed that it would only become a competitive process should there be a higher amount of interest in a post than what there are posts available. To assure our colleagues, neighbouring Trusts will continue to review and ring fence vacancies for our Whalley colleagues and we are currently agreeing the process of how these vacancies are shared so our colleagues do not miss any potential opportunities for which they may be suitable.

Following an application to TRAC, the agreement from neighbouring Trusts is to minimise a formal recruitment process and instead applications from Whalley would be invited in to a suitability discussion. The purpose of a suitability discussion is to talk through qualifications, skills and experience needed for the role and to assess suitability. Again, this process mirrors what we do for internal re-deployment. It will only become a competitive process should there be more interest for posts than there are actual roles available.


The incentives offered during the 1:1 process and were agreed are as follows:
Current Incentives offered

  • All care staff - A payment of £1000 following 3 months of completed transfer to Aspen Wood and a further payment of £1000 at 12 months and at 24 months (total of £3000 over 2 years)
  • Registered Nurses only - A payment of £1500 following 3 months completed transfer to Aspen Wood and a further payment of £1500 at 12 months and 24 months (total of £4500 over 2 years)
  • Costs related to additional mileage usage do to travel to Aspen Wood, for example breaching pre agreed annual milage rates as part of existing lease car agreements will be supported.

New additional recruitment and retention incentives for registered nurses

Due to the feedback from consultations and greatest potential workforce gap for Aspen Wood being registered nurses, the following additional incentives have been agreed:

The additional incentives have been agreed for registered nurses:

  • The current low secure recruitment and retention (R&R) payment of £1,200 and MSU payment of £1,500 will increase to £4,000 for all registered nurses (bands 5-7) working in the LD services at Rowan View and Aspen Wood (this will commence on the opening of Aspen Wood). Please note that if you are a registered nurse who transfers from Whalley you will be entitled to the £4,000 recruitment and retentive (R&R) payment (paid in 12 monthly instalments) in addition to a £1500 payment on completing 3 months at Aspen Wood, with 2 further payments of £1500 at 12 months and 24 months.
  • Relocation package of up to £15,000 to be available for registered nurses currently working on the Whalley site who move to support their transfer to work in Aspen Wood.
  • Pay travel time for registered nurses, up to 60 mins each way for a period of 2 years subject to review.
  • Exploring the provision of transport to the Maghull site.
  • Additional costs incurred as a result of increased mileage for pre-existing lease car agreements – subject to approval.

Myself and our divisional senior leaders will be arranging a number of ‘drop in’ sessions on the Whalley site to discuss the incentive offer in further detail and to allow you to ask any questions that you may have.

We hope that the above offer may change the preference you provided at your 1:1, in terms of now wishing to join us at Aspen Wood. Should this be the case, can I ask that you make your manager aware of this in the first instance and we will ensure that you are contacted by one of our Whalley HR colleagues and your documentation is updated accordingly.

We are very proud of the skill set we have at Whalley, and the passion and commitment of our workforce even in these times of change, and it is our intention to ensure colleagues are confident / assured about the process and if unable to transfer with us to Aspen Wood, that they are redeployed successfully into a comparable role. Appropriate training / discussions to support colleagues in this process will continue to be offered. There has been an overall agreement and commitment across the board to avoid any redundancies and collaboratively we will redeploy between Trusts to protect, retain knowledge and skills in the NHS.

Next steps and key milestones

Whalley next steps image.png
Support packages at Whalley site

In response to the feedback during the organisational change process, we have developed a support package which will be offered to our colleagues. There will be various sessions offered with OE and Health and Wellbeing. The sessions will explore in depth the emotional impact of change and how to respond to change, as well as offering practical support around TRAC system, recruitment, and suitability discussions. We envisage the sessions to commence in June and we would encourage greatly for our colleagues to attend. Confirmation of dates will be circulated from the retraction inbox and populated on to Your Space. If you need any urgent support in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact your Line Manager or a member of the HR team at Whalley.

Individual Packages of Care (IPC) 

You will be aware that the IPC’s will TUPE transfer to Lancashire and South Cumbria. We are working closely with colleagues at LSCFT for an agreed transfer which we will hope to confirm by the end of May. We will engage with our IPC colleagues separately in this regard.

Thank you again for your continued support and patience during this process. If you have any questions or concerns about the process, can you please direct these to your manager in the first instance. Alternatively you can contact our Staff Support Services 01925 664010
Kind Regards,
Steve Newton and Amanda Oates