Latest message from Julia Musker: 14 March 2024

Firstly please can I acknowledge and thank you for your continued support here at Whalley during this unprecedented time and I really can validate your anxieties around what’s happening up to 31 March.

Just to put some context to why I have left it quite late to let you all know what is going to happen from Monday onwards. It was difficult to know how many colleagues would remain on site, and how many colleagues would transfer to Aspen Wood, as this has been a positive moving picture. In addition, we have had colleagues who have moved on to other opportunities externally or have retired.

For all the colleagues that remain employed by Mersey Care and have a roster in place up to 31 March, there is a requirement for you to be available for work as normal and to fulfil your contractual obligations. In addition, I will be looking for the support of our colleagues in a number of areas as part of this transition:

  • I will require colleagues to support with the transition and staffing at Aspen Wood. Some colleagues have already kindly volunteered to support in Aspen Wood from next Monday ahead of any formalised work trials, and I would like to again extend my thanks for this support. I would like to request the support of other colleagues in this regard and can provide shared transport in working hours should this be required. The ask is to support the settling of our service users as part of this change, to role model for any new colleagues, and to support any ongoing training required
  • I will continue to require the support of colleagues to support service users on s17 leave
  • I will need to put a roster in place for the reception area to be staffed up to 31 March. I will have two colleagues rostered after the hours of 5pm due to the building being empty
  • I will arrange a senior nurse to be available to offer support for colleagues from 18 March and to coordinate duties and/or allocate work
  • Should any colleague who has remaining annual leave wish to take this, please liaise with your manager who can look to coordinate.

I would like to provide assurance that no colleague will be asked to undertake unreasonable work, but again, would like to ask that you are flexible in your approach to work and duties that may be required to support the transition of our service users.

What happens from Monday 18 March

If not already identified to attend work, day staff must make contact with the service coordinator to enable the service coordinator to ascertain which area you will be required to report for duty. The contact numbers are 01254 821985 or 07385 952687, or 01254 821139 between 7am and 8am.

Night staff are to contact the service coordinator the day before their night shift to determine where they are required to support (see the contact numbers above).

Please be aware that should any colleague fail to make contract or not be available for work, you may be recorded as unauthorised (unpaid).

On a final note, thank you again for your support through this unprecedented period, and thank you again to all those colleagues who have already offered their flexibility and support from next week onwards.

Julia Musker

Service Manager - Secure Care

Whalley site clearance

The clinical move from Maplewood to Aspen Wood will occur on Tuesday, 19 March. After this date we will not have any clinical service on the site.

After Wednesday, 20 March all desktop IT equipment will begin to be removed from offices. Before this date, please ensure, if you have any essential documents saved on a desktop PC, you have saved it to a shared or personal drive or emailed it to yourself. Please also clear any personal items from your offices. If you need help with large items please contact facilities. If you are unable to clear personal belongings before Wednesday, 20 March please let Alex Close know via email:

Independent money help and advice

We’re working with MoneyHelper, who are linked with DWP, who offer financial information. Their leaflet is very popular and shows the wide range of financial wellbeing topics they provide guidance on. This includes items such as ‘Everyday money’, ‘Money Troubles’ and ‘Pensions and Retirement’. The MoneyHelper leaflet also has details of their contact centres: 0800 138 7777 and how you can contact them digitally via Webchat or WhatsApp. Download their leaflet here (please do not print multiple copies).

Latest message from Steve Newton: 16 February 2024

I wanted to write to provide an update on the Organisational Change and the current position relating to the process for identifying Suitable Alternative Employment (SAE).

I am extremely conscious of how unsettling a process like this can be, and have had the opportunity to speak to many colleagues in person over the last few weeks. In addition, to allow those affected by this process to have the opportunity to meet / discuss questions or concerns with senior members of the divisional / Trust Leadership teams, many of you will also be aware that the weekly Trust Executive Team meeting was held on site in the Board room followed by a drop in session in Herbstones.

Following this session, Trish Bennett, Amanda Oates and myself accompanied by Chris Stewart visited Maplewood 1 and 2 and answered questions posed by colleagues. The answers to the questions will no doubt be circulating around the site, but we will ensure that any new questions are incorporated into the FAQ which are available in on the right hand column. We will ensure that further drop in’s are facilitated in the forthcoming weeks, alongside some of the engagement events that are already planned.

It is important that we continue to communicate correctly and effectively as we progress through he next 5 weeks, moving to the final stages of the ‘At Risk’ process.

Yesterday, as part of our weekly meetings with Staff Side representatives, detailed information was shared relating to roles available within LSCFT which they have agreed to ‘ring fence’ (protect) for our colleagues affected by this process.

You will by now be aware that updates of all available vacancies are shared weekly on this current page. For those of you who are members of a staff side organisation, this information may have already been disseminated to you. I am really pleased to now share with you that LSCFT have agreed to support us with offering roles for all Health Care Assistant / Support Worker’s meaning that we can protect the employment of all colleagues in them roles who are affected by this process, with a view to extending this offer to other clinical disciplines in the first instance. Collaborative working with LSCFT colleagues continue in this regard and we will update you in the coming days.

The details of these band 3 HCA / SW vacancies include:

  • 53 WTE vacancies at Guild Lodge
  • 16 WTE vacancies at Whalley (excluding the IPC vacanices which will be offered following TUPE)
  • 16 WTE vacancies in Blackburn
  • 1 WTE vacancy in LD/A Service

You will see from the above that LSCFT have made available 86 wte roles, which is more vacancies than our current HCA’s workforce at Whalley. I hope that this is welcome news for colleagues in those roles.

So, in terms of next steps, as detailed in my communication of 31 January, we will now look to identify SAE opportunities starting with our band 3 clinical roles. We have collated individual information that will allow us to map against available posts.

This process, which has now been formally agreed by the Trust Executive Team, will be managed via a desk top exercise. We will use a matrix approach to identify which role is suitable for each affected colleague using varying criteria that will be scored to determine priority and suitability of the role offered. We will firstly look to match against job banding and job role i.e. a staff nurse into a staff nurse role, support worker into a support worker role (etc),  then look towards proximity of home to new base – with the objective being to match those that live closest to each available vacancy. Colleagues will be offered suitable roles and the details of this confirmed in writing.

As previously shared, and discussed with Staff Side colleagues, it will be for the Trust to determine whether the role is considered as suitable, and reasonable with consideration given to any personal circumstances that have been presented to us. Following this exercise, you will receive the details of the SAE direct to you along with a guaranteed suitability discussion.

We will also be including the HCA colleagues that have recently opted for a trial period at Aspen Wood. We have discussed our rationale with staff side representatives, who agreed this is a reasonable and proactive approach to undertake. To explain this decision, the rationale for including these individuals is that in the event that the 4 week trial is unsuccessful we will have a secondary role identified and can therefore map individuals into roles to keep you employed within the NHS.

We have agreed with staff side that we will have more regular meeting and update you all accordingly to reduce any anxiety and to provide assurance that we are working hard to secure jobs for you all in the coming weeks.

On a final note, I would like to thank you for your commitment to the service during this uncertain period of change. If you have any questions please liaise with your manager or our Whalley HR team.

Steve Newton

Operational Director, Secure Care


Previous updates are below and archived in the news column on the right.

Message from Steve Newton: 17 January 2023

I want to start this message with a thank you.

We have had a positive service user discharge this week.  The work done to move them close to their home was widely praised and the way colleagues have stepped up to help was described as exceptional.  That’s true of so much of what you have achieved over the years and I wanted to recognise that: everyone on site has helped here by setting the tone, helping a colleague, living our culture, delivering great care – not just to service users but to each other.

You may have also have seen mention of the site transfer in the paper. I know how reading about change like this can be hard for staff and service users alike. Trust leads recognise the unrest many are feeling and we continue to offer support regularly to colleagues to make the transfer as smooth as we can. We have arranged for various engagement days on site.  These will include presentations and discussions in relation to CV support, Department for Work and Pensions, National Careers Service and Blackburn College – dates will be announced soon. 

The team continue to work collaboratively and incredibly hard with neighbouring trusts to seek and ‘ring fence’  suitable alternatives for our colleagues. Don’t forget that vacancies and opportunities are posted regularly on this page.

As ever, if you have any queries, always come to us please or to your own manager in the first instance.

I would very much look forward to seeing as many of you as possible transferring to the Aspen Wood site. I want to thank all Whalley staff for your continued commitment to this process and our services.

Steve Newton

Operational Director, Secure Care

Ring Fenced Jobs at Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS

A wide range of jobs ring fenced as vacancies from LSCFT to Whalley staff are available. The jobs are from band 2 to 6 and are in physical health, clerical areas, OT and a wide range of disciplines across the LSC geographical area. Follow the links below to learn more. 

Job title  



Health Care Support Worker

Guild Lodge, Preston


Medical Secretary - Learning Disability

Whalley Individual Packages Team


Medical Secretary - Learning Disability

Burnley Wood Resource Centre


Medical Secretary - Perinatal

Leyland House


Network Management Administrator

Pathways Resource Centre, Bamber Bridge


MAP Administrator

Pathways Resource Centre, Bamber Bridge


Mental Health Access Line and Central Lancashire Frequent Attender Team Manager

Avondale Unit, Royal Preston Hospital


CYPMH Practitioner

Ellen House

Medical Secretary - head and neck Royal Blackburn Hospital 1
Catering Supervisor Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital 1
Catering Assistant Casterton Ave 1
Catering Assistant Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital 1
Logistics Service Assistant Royal Blackburn Hospital 1
Patient Services Assistant Burnley General Teaching Hospital 1

IPC band 5 and IPC band 3 staff should email Whalley retraction on

See the National Careers Service leaflet attached.

Incentives for roles at Aspen Wood

“Aspen Wood represents the next level in forensic learning disability
provision – we need you to be part of this. There’s an R&R package for you.
Ask us how we can support you to join us at the new low secure site.”

Steve Newton, Divisional Director

Registered nurses (bands 5 - 8)

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All staff (bands 1 - 4)

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All staff, excluding registered nurses (bands 5 -8)

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