WORKFORCE: A mental health trust’s plans to reconfigure its social care services will lead to job losses from its 240-strong independent living team, the trust has confirmed.

Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust said changes to the team, which provides domiciliary help for vulnerable patients recovering from operations, will lead to a number of redundancies.

The provider confirmed to HSJ that there would be a number of redundancies. It said it was not possible to say how many there would be at this stage in the process.

The trust, which provides care for 735,000 people, told local newspaper The Sleaford Target that the changes were necessary in order to meet a rise in demand for the service, provided by nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists.

The independent living team was transferred to the trust from Lincolnshire County Council in April this year and employs many staff on part-time contracts.

The service has a budget of £4.3m for 2014-15.

A trust spokeswoman said: “We are developing a more locality-based service model that generates efficiencies in service delivery, providing excellent services to people that need the type of service we offer. 

“Many of the staff affected [by the changes] are on part time hour contracts; some have no permanent contracts, whilst others work beyond their contracted hours. 

“Some staff presently cover quite small areas so there is currently less flexibility when aiming to cover service users’ needs across the county and also offering opportunities for more hours. 

“By consolidating these variations we are able to offer people increased hours and more secure employment.  As a consequence we aim to reduce expenditure on bank staff and increase contact time with patients.” 

The spokeswoman added that all relevant staff representatives and trade unions were involved in the consultation process.

The trust told HSJ it was working with other local providers, including Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, in order to reduce the amount of contact that patients will need when being cared for by the team.