Our staff side and trade unions have a key role in this process. In addition to existing structures already in place, new structures will be developed to make sure we have regular dialogue with them. They are there to enable you to raise any concerns you have, either as an individual or as a staff group. 

Find out who your trade union representative is.

A formal consultation will form part of the process and will be undertaken with trade union colleagues. Consultation needs to be meaningful and will be for a minimum of 45 days. There will also be engagement with our patients, service users and carers and other stakeholders.

At this stage, there are no plans to offer voluntary redundancy. It is envisaged that all staff will transfer to their new organisations (either Mersey Care or Greater Manchester Mental Health) and current roles and responsibilities will remain in place. 

It is acknowledged that after this transfer Mersey Care and Greater Manchester Mental Health may review roles and structures. 

The structures for after the transition period are not yet known. Therefore, it would be wrong to assume that for every duplicate post there will be the removal of one post.

As above, if a vacancy emerges at a senior level, the opportunity will be taken to consider existing capability and capacity within teams across all trusts before a decision is made about recruitment. 

We don’t expect there to be an impact on recruitment between now and April 2021 as we need to be able to continue to run the services we deliver safely and effectively until the end of the transition period. If a vacancy emerges at a senior level, the opportunity will be taken to consider existing capability and capacity within teams across all trusts before a decision is made about recruitment. 

In early 2019, Mersey Care started a Corporate Transformation Programme. Essentially, this is about identifying:

  • Improvements to Corporate Services which will improve quality of services, level of efficiency and reduce costs;
  • Trust-wide inefficient processes and practices which can be improved with a focused intervention led by Corporate Services.

To date, a number of initiatives have been identified, including:

  • Introduction of new procurement arrangements for estates works;
  • Implementation of e-rostering performance approach; 
  • Establishment of commercialisation arrangements; 
  • Review of procurement arrangements (with greater focus on what is purchased and from whom as opposed to just price). 

It is Mersey Care’s intention to continue with this programme of work, both pre and post-acquisition. This programme is in addition to the traditional CIP approach adopted within each of the individual functional departments.

It is a bit too early at this stage for teams to be making connections with colleagues at either Mersey Care or Greater Manchester Mental Health in relation to the transition period and the future. 

This is something we would encourage to happen when the workstreams outlined in question 1.6 have been established as the intention would be for these workstreams to enable early and closer alignment of planned projects and developments.

There is a very clear message this decision will not prevent us continuing to improve services and care for our patients. Therefore, it is expected long-term projects will continue.

Please be assured that our service users and patients will not be impacted during this process. Providing quality and safe patient care remains the number one priority for all parties involved.

We are committed to engaging with staff, patients and carers, governors and other stakeholders throughout. 

An area has been created on the intranet - our future

An email address has been set up for you to send your questions to: ourfuture@nwbh.nhs.uk

These questions and answers will be updated to include any further questions you might have and to reflect progress as we know more. We aim to provide responses to any further questions to all staff within two working days of them being received.

The acquisition process for our Cheshire and Merseyside services will be led by two Programme Directors: 

  • Tracy Hill, Director of Strategy and Organisational Effectiveness (our Trust)
  • Chris Lyons, Director of Corporate Transformation (Mersey Care)

The transfer of our Wigan, Bolton and Greater Manchester services will also led by Tracy Hill from our Trust, supported by Dr Sandeep Ranote, Medical Director and Executive lead for the borough. The lead from Greater Manchester Mental Health will be Liz Calder, Director of Performance and Strategic Development.

A Transaction Board was established in January 2020 to provide strategic oversight for the acquisition of the Cheshire and Merseyside services, and this was chaired by Joe Rafferty, Chief Executive of Mersey Care. The Transaction Board will now be extended to include the strategic oversight of the transfer of Wigan, Bolton and Greater Manchester services, and it is our expectation that the Board will be chaired by a representative from NHS Improvement. We will update details of who this is as soon as we know. 

The Transaction Board meets on a monthly basis and is attended by members of the Executive Teams from our Trust and Mersey Care. The membership for the Board will now extend to include representatives from the Executive Team from Greater Manchester Mental Health. 

There are separate arrangements in Cheshire and Merseyside to gather the views of commissioners through a commissioner stakeholder forum, work is ongoing to see how the Greater Manchester Commissioners are involved.

For the acquisition of Cheshire and Merseyside services, a Transaction Programme Group will be responsible for the operational management and delivery of the Mersey Care transition. This Group will be chaired by Tracy Hill and Chris Lyons and will report to directly the Transaction Board. The Group will oversee eight workstreams responsible for delivering on specific tasks and contributing to the due diligence process. The workstreams will be jointly led by both ourselves and Mersey Care and will involve relevant leads across both organisations. The workstreams are:

  • Corporate governance
  • Clinical governance and quality
  • Work force and organisational effectiveness
  • Finance
  • Estates and facilities
  • Informatics and performance
  • Communications and engagement
  • Corporate services

For the transfer of Wigan, Bolton and Greater Manchester services, the first step is to develop the clinical delivery model. We are waiting for further details from NHS Wigan Clinical Commissioning Group and Greater Manchester Mental Health on how this process will be managed, but early indications are that there will be a series of workstreams to support this part of the transaction. We will update this information as soon as we have further details. 

We have worked with Mersey Care to develop a strategic case document. This was approved by both Trust Boards in June 2020 and submitted to NHS England and NHS Improvement. 

The strategic case is a document which outlines how the proposal for our Cheshire and Merseyside staff and services to transfer to Mersey Care would be positive for patient care and staff, while making financial sense and benefiting the wider health and care system.

If NHS England and NHS Improvement support the strategic case, Mersey Care will develop a comprehensive business case outlining the detail for how the transaction will take place. At that stage, we will have a clearer understanding of any implication on the original timelines which aimed for staff and services to transfer to Mersey Care on 1 April 2021.

The transfer of Wigan, Bolton and Greater Manchester services will be subject to a comprehensive assurance process and robust due diligence process, and will align with the Mersey Care element of our transition, with all staff and services transferring to their new respective organisations at the same time. We have been working towards a transfer date of 1 April 2021.

This means commissioners in Wigan, Bolton and Greater Manchester, have taken the decision to move the mental health service contracts they currently pay us to provide in Wigan, Bolton and Greater Manchester to another provider - Greater Manchester Mental Health. In this case, it means our Wigan, Bolton and Greater Manchester staff and services will separate from the wider Trust and transfer to Greater Manchester Mental Health when the rest of the organisation transfers to Mersey Care. 

Our staff who deliver Cheshire and Merseyside services will TUPE transfer to Mersey Care, and Mersey Care will take over the running of our services in Cheshire and Merseyside from the transaction completion date.

Our Trust Board and Council of Governors recommended to NHS Improvement for our Cheshire and Merseyside services to be acquired by Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust. This decision was reached to make sure the services we currently provide will continue to be delivered in a high quality and safe way in the long term future. 

Following this announcement in 2019, commissioners in Wigan felt it was the right time to review and consider options for the future of mental health services the trust currently delivers in Wigan. NHS Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group and Wigan Council have identified clear benefits for transferring mental health services to a provider within the Greater Manchester area, and this will be Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust. 

For services we currently deliver in Bolton and Greater Manchester, it has been agreed that these services will also be transferred to Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust. This means our staff and services will transfer as follows:

  • Cheshire and Merseyside staff and services - Mersey Care
  • Wigan, Bolton and Greater Manchester staff and services - Greater Manchester Mental Health 

Since September 2017, our Trust Board and Council of Governors have been discussing the long term future direction and sustainability of our organisation. They recognised that, in coming years, growing financial challenges are likely to put the quality and safety of patient care at risk; which is something we will not allow to happen.

Our financial position is currently stable and patient care is being delivered safely. However, in order to prevent any potential impact on quality of patient care in the future, we are doing the sensible thing and taking action now. 

The options we explored were:

  1. To remain as a standalone organisation
  2. To separate contracts by borough to be run by other provider trusts
  3. To merge with or be acquired by one or more provider trust