Health chiefs have ruled out any compulsory redundancies among 12,000 staff if the proposed merger between Burton and Derby Hospital Trusts goes ahead as planned.
A final business case for the link-up between Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS is set to be submitted by February 2018, with a new trust formed under a new name.
Both bosses say the move will strengthen both trusts, with many of the health services currently available still on offer.
The chief executives of both hospitals, Helen Scott-South of Burton and her counterpart, Gavin Boyle of Derby, who has already been confirmed as the proposed chief executive of the new trust, have confirmed the merger would be achieved through an acquisition of Burton by Derby.
Aside from Queen's Hospital in Burton and the Royal Derby Hospital being affected by the move, the merger would also encompass community hospitals, including Sir Robert Peel Community Hospital in Tamworth, Samuel Johnson Community Hospital in Lichfield and London Road Community Hospital in Derby.
Concerns have been raised that the merging of the trusts may lead to job losses, particularly on the Burton side as bosses make sure the process is as streamlined as possible.
But, speaking at an open meeting to the public about the merger at the Royal Derby Hospital on Tuesday, October 24, Dr Neil Pease, the director of workforce and corporate development at the Derby trust, confirmed that of the roughly 12,000 current staff members in both trusts, there would be no redundancies.
Dr Pease said: "There are no plans to make anybody compulsory redundant. When you look at the sums involved with both organisations, between us we employ about 12,000 staff across both organisations.
"We have around a four per cent natural turnover, so that equates to approximately 450 or 500 people a year who will naturally either retire, get jobs elsewhere and move on. So if you look at the average cost of a member of staff, about £25,000 is what we use for calculation purposes.
"You've probably got around £12 million of natural turnover a year, so there is no plan to make anybody redundant. If anything we are going to need to retain talent, we have to retain people if this is going to be successful to move forward."
During the open session members of the public concerned about the process and reasons for the merger were able to address their worries and question bosses from the Derby trust, prompting chief executive Gavin Boyle to outline five pledges for the future.
They are: "We will retain a vibrant district general hospital in Burton including our accident and emergency department.
"We will sustain and develop existing specialised services in Derby. We will introduce services in our community hospitals at Lichfield and Tamworth that recognise the changing needs of the two populations.
"We will retain patient choice. We will only make changes that will improve services and there are no plans to privatise them or make wholesale staff redundancies."
The Burton and Derby hospital trusts merger so far
Final planning for the proposed merger is still being finalised and should be submitted and reviewed by the end of the year.
Earlier this year, in June, it was announced at a Healthwatch meeting that the outline business case for the partnership of the organisations, with a recommendation to merge was approved.
Fears have been raised by many, particularly in Burton that the hospital could lose services, including the accident and emergency department.
Concerns that the A&E department at Queen’s Hospital could be downgraded to an urgent care centre, meaning it would not operate 24-7. The Burton Mail, as well as the town’s MP Andrew Griffiths, joined the fight to keep it open.
At the Healthwatch meeting it was confirmed by bosses from both respective trusts, Helen Scott-South from Burton and Gavin Boyle from Derby that the A&E department would not close.
A new trust will be formed, should the current plans go ahead, under a new combined title. The chairman will be John Rivers, the current chairman of both Derby and Burton trusts, and chief executive of Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Gavin Boyle will take up the same role at the new trust.