Mental health service funding in Sefton is to be cut by up to £1million and over a quarter of the staff could be made redundant.
South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Southport & Formby CCG have put services for people with depression and anxiety disorders out to tender and have awarded the contract to the lowest bidder. The tendering process had been run in October 2014 for a contract worth up to £14million and the present provider – Inclusion Matters – were set to retain the contract. However, the tendering process was then rerun with a lower value of £13million.
This time, the bid from Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Trust was successful and they intend to further sub-contract the service to an organisation called Insight UK. They will run the service from 1 April.
Staff have been told that new providers will make redundancies and it is feared as many as 20 out of 74 jobs could be lost. This could include the loss of more than eight High Intensity Therapist jobs which equates to the loss of 160 meetings with clients a week. An online petition calling for the CCGs to reverse the cuts has already attracted over 600 signatures.
One member of staff said:
“Why are the CCG’s simply ignoring quality of care and service user satisfaction to give it to the cheapest option? If the new employers cannot afford the service then why are they allowed to bid for it?”
Paul Summers, UNISON Regional Organiser said:
“If contracts are awarded on the basis of cost alone then the service to Sefton people will suffer. This is a kick in the teeth to the staff who have worked tremendously hard but now face uncertain futures. Their livelihoods are at stake here and the decision to transfer a good performing service simply because there was a cheaper bid is plain wrong.
“The CCGs are trying to get mental health services on the cheap. They need to reverse this decision and put care before cost.”
You can view and sign the petition at: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/care-before-cost-1