The NHS department that looks after Northamptonshire dementia patients has placed 26 staff at risk of redundancy.
And NHS Northamptonshire Healthcare announced this morning that, although the final number who will eventually be forced to leave will be less than this, those deemed surplus to its needs are expected to be gone by December.
Bosses said they propose to merge its Memory Assessment Services and Long Term Team and place them in just four locations spread across the county. A third service, Dementia Care Advisors would be run in future by Northamptonshire Carers.
The news sees the return of the same plans that campaigners hoped they had defeated when a consultation was halted earlier this year.
NHS bosses said the proposals will not be put to a public consultation and, instead, only staff will be asked as, it claims, there will be minimal disruption to demntia patients and their families.
But they appeared to contradict that claims by admitting: “As far as possible we will aim for service users to stay with their existing clinicians, nurses or carers.
“However, this may not be possible in all cases.”
A Frequently Asked Questions sheet issued this morning gives limited detail.
-It says that the NHS is “facing increasing financial pressures due to the increase in demand for services, increased cost of goods and services and the introduction of new treatments.
“Our services need to evolve to meet these pressures. This staff consultation looks at the resources we have available and considers the most efficient way of providing a service without compromising service user care.
“There is a need for us to make savings. As with many public sector bodies we are continually challenged to do more with less. However, many of these savings come from simply working smarter, better and more effectively. Our priority is to ensure we have the right people, with the right skills in the right places to provide quality care to our service users, patients and carers.
-It says the public or demntia patient’s families will have no input into the consultation because “our aim is to cause minimal disruption to the care that our service users currently experience.”
It adds: “As service users will continue to receive services, we don’t feel that this needs to be a public consultation.”
Although the structure of the teams might change, service users will “continue to receive care and notice very little difference”, NHFT claimed.
Some members of staff might change their main base, it said, however the majority of service users will still receive care where they currently do.
It goes on to say that “our aim is that service users experience a better quality service after this consultation.”
“While we are co-locating teams into fewer locations we are working to ensure there is continued local access to services within all localities, although in one or two areas the location of the access point may change. We are working hard to ensure any disruption is kept to a minimum.
“If there are changes to anyone’s care plan, we will make sure that people are kept fully informed.”
-On the return of the plans, which campaigners had hoped would not resurface, it said: “Yes, we originally launched this staff consultation in April 2014. However we realised that the proposed model for the service needed further work. We also wanted to have further discussions with service users, staff, trust management and our governors and ensure their views were included in the staff consultation. We took the opportunity to pause the consultation, engage with more people and then relaunch.
“After the trust took the decision to halt the previous staff consultation, we took time to pause and reflect. Since this decision, the trust project group has heard from service users, governors, staff, management and commissioners and considered their views in the formulation of this model.”
-Several matters remain unclear. NHFT said overall numbers of staff may even increase, However, it is not clear whether this means that the number of roles would reduce but those that remain or are created become job shares.
-Richard McKendrick, Chief Operating Officer at Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “While we understand many people may be concerned about these proposed changes, our aim is to cause minimal disruption to the care that our service users currently receive.
“Although the structure of the teams might change, service users will continue to receive care and our expectation would be that they experience a better quality service after this consultation.
“While there is a need to make the service more efficient, our ultimate aim is to improve and modernise patient experience.”
The staff consultation will finish on the 28 September.
If people have any queries or concerns, they can get in touch with our Patient Advice and Liaison
Service (PALS) and PALS will feed any comments though to the consultation team.
Northampton Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
St Mary’s Hospital,
Freephone telephone: 0800 917 8504
We can also been contacted via social media.