CLOSE to 200 health workers on the Fylde coast could lose their jobs as part of a reorganisation of the NHS.
From April next year, when the Health and Social Care Act comes into force, primary care trusts will no longer exist.
And a leaked letter has revealed NHS Blackpool could see 32 of its 124 workers made redundant while NHS North Lancashire – which covers Fylde and Wyre – could lose 125 staff, out of 207.
NHS Lancashire – a cluster of local primary care trusts – has written to trade unions to advise them of potential redundancies, including on the Fylde coast, likely to arise from the changes to the system.
Health bosses have been consulting staff with a view to making at least 20 redundancies in each organisation within 90 days or less.
But they say it is still early days and the final redundancy numbers are likely to be lower.
A joint statement from NHS Blackpool and NHS North Lancashire said: “We’re mid-way through appointment processes to roles within the organisations which will exist beyond April 2013.
“Therefore, the figures which have so far been shared with trade union colleagues do not reflect the final picture, as a significant number of appointments have yet to be made.
“We are following the national process in making appointments and expect the numbers or projected redundancies, shared so far with trade unions as part of our statutory duty to consult, will therefore significantly reduce.”
Former Patient and Public Involvement Forum member Vernon Allen, from Freckleton, said: “What concerns me, with these changes – is it going to make things better for patients?
“What will be the effect on patient care of all this reorganisation?
“And, when another Government comes into office, will it all change again?”
Tim Ellis, regional organiser for health union UNISON, said losing dedicated workers could only have a negative impact on the service provided.
He added: “These are highly experienced and knowledgeable staff who are critical to the proper design and development of NHS service for patients.
“Their loss will mean worse services and worse planning of services.”
Blackpool LINk (Local Involvement Network) is holding a meeting on November 9, at the Salvation Army Citadel.
It starts at 10am, and will be including a question and answer session with health bosses and local MPs.
Adrian Blundell, from LINk, told The Gazette: “People may have concerns about the transition from primary care trusts to the new system of commissioning groups, which is the reason we have got together key figures and are inviting people to come along next week.”