Suffolk: 80 jobs face the axe as Suffolk and Norfolk mental health trusts merge

SUFFOLK: Eighty jobs will be axed when Suffolk and Norfolk mental health trusts merge later this year, it was revealed today.

But bosses orchestrating the cost-cutting operation say they are working to minimise redundancies to reduce the impact on staff.

Suffolk Mental Health Trust is awaiting confirmation of plans to merge with the Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust after the two bodies prepared submissions to the NHS regulatory body, Monitor.

Newly-appointed chief executive designate, Aidan Thomas, who currently heads up the Norfolk team, said they had received support from local primary care trusts and were awaiting approval from the Strategic Health Authority and Co-operation and Competition Panel, which is due in the first half of this year.

Should the proposal make it through this “critical phase”, dramatic changes will be made to the way the workforce is structured, according to Mr Thomas.

He said: “Unfortunately, we are anticipating that we are likely to lose about 80 posts from corporate and support services across the two trusts, but both trusts are implementing strategies to minimise the impact on staff.”

Moving to reassure patients, he added: “We have confidence that the submission clearly states the benefits to community that result from this merger. The two trusts are working closely to ensure this merger is a success.”

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Mr Thomas’s appointment was announced last week when it was also revealed that Mark Halladay, the man who instigated the merger, did not pursue the top job.

Mr Halladay, the current chief executive of the Suffolk trust, will step down later this year once the new trust is created.

Explaining that he has yet to seek alternative employment, he told The Evening Star: “I have five months to make sure the merger is a success, then I will think about my future.”

Suffolk Mental Health Trust specialises in eating disorders and learning disability services while the Norfolk team is internationally-recognised for its medicines management and pharmacy services as well as its adult acute service model and dementia care.

A move by the Suffolk Mental Health Trust to a new base at St Clements in Ipswich was in its final stages but the new combined trust HQ will now be based in Norwich, it has been revealed.

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n Will you be affected by the merger? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or you can e-mail