GMB members concerned over Sussex Mental Healthline closure plans
“The service changes and creation of new roles and posts is nullifying both the Trusts and the Sussex and Surrey Sustainability and Transformation Partnership claims that it’s a simple and more publically acceptable and palatable integration of services”, says GMB Southern
GMB members have raised their concerns over plans by Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust to close the county’s current Sussex Mental Healthline and to allow provision to be subsumed instead into the Sussex 111 clinical assessment service system at Crawley. Staff have condemned the plans as misleading and disastrous for future callers as they would need to find alternative sources of support with the closure of the 20-year-old service.
The alterations to the operating model are so significant that the changes the trust are proposing through service redesign will potentially leave users unprepared and facing real difficulties accessing and being sign posted to the right assistances when they need it most.
The trust to date have failed to settle a range of individual and collective grievances presented to the trust about the job change and service closure. This means staff are left bordering on dispute status, with GMB members potentially looking to escalate matters, through the undertaking of industrial action ballots.
Gary Palmer, GMB Regional Organiser said: "Our members and concerned staff remain deeply disappointed and uncomfortable with both the way this closure has come about and the lack of meaningful consultation with both themselves and importantly the service user who will find the no notice closure of the service a shock.
"The service changes and creation of new roles and posts is nullifying both the Trusts and the Sussex and Surrey Sustainability and Transformation Partnership claims that it’s a simple and more publically acceptable and palatable integration of services. Instead they are seeking to conceal the closure of the service. The purposeful lack of information and engagement to date with service users will result in an unassuming notice of change instead of the open and full public consultation warranted.
"The deliberate attempt by the trust in saying nothing changes for staff working at the current Sussex Mental Healthline and that the closure is in fact integration, contradicts the actual fact that a lot of the work carried out by the team for the users of the service as it is now will not be continued.
"This is nothing more than the closure of the Sussex Mental Healthline but to make it more palatable publically in the short term and to avoid the employments rights of the 14 staff currently working and providing the service for the trust, management are hiding behind calling the closure an integration, even though no process will remain the same and everybody’s role will be different.
"GMB will now be discussing with members if they wish to take the next move in making this a more formal dispute through the use of a consultative ballot asking if members wish to take industrial; action to bring the Trust to the table to both consult meaningfully and treat the change for staff as a possible redundancy situation."
Contact: Gary Palmer 07552 165950 or GMB Southern Press Office 07970 114762