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‘Unsettling’ job competition as hospitals create joint leadership team for merger

PUBLISHED: 16:24 16 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:24 16 May 2018

Ipswich and Colchester hospitals are due to merge in July. Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich and Colchester hospitals are due to merge in July. Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

Chiefs at Colchester and Ipswich hospitals are having to reapply for their jobs ahead of the merger of the trusts, it has emerged.

An “unsettling” appointment process is currently underway to create one leadership team to oversee both hospitals once they fuse in July, this newspaper can reveal.

Jan Ingle, head of communications for Ipswich and Colchester, said the restructure involved around 200 senior staff members, such as executive directors and heads of department, out of a 10,000 strong workforce.

She added staff were asked to express their interest for the new roles and if more than one person applied then a “selection process” took place.

“This is about divisional and corporate services and it’s leadership roles and out of 10,000 this is roughly around 200 roles,” Mrs Ingle said.

“We want to make sure we are very open and transparent and we appreciate all change is unsettling.

“We would encourage anyone with concerns to talk to us.”

While some roles will be dropped, Mrs Ingle said new positions were also being created.

Mrs Ingle said frontline, clinical staff were not involved in this appointment process.

Caroline Hennessy, regional organiser at UNISON, said the union was working with the hospitals in the reorganisation.

She said: “We have been assured there will be minimal redundancies – in fact, they have said there may not be a reduction in head count as a result of the merger, but we have been supporting our members through this process and we are talking with the trust to ensure a smooth transition into the new organisation.”

Miss Hennessy added: “It’s very unsettling but legally they are doing it the right way. They are putting people into a 30-day consultation and then they are being slotted into their new jobs or have a competitive interview so that’s very unsettling for all the staff.”

UNISON is concerned the merger is being pushed through too quickly and staff have not been adequately consulted about the move, Miss Hennessy said.

The merger was unanimously voted forward by hospital bosses in March.

The new trust will be called East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, but both hospitals will retain their current names.

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