• Controversial transfer of around 250 staff from Cumbria Partnership Foundation Trust to Lancashire Care FT to go ahead in October
  • Many staff have expressed reluctance to transfer to LCFT, which is rated “requires improvement”
  • There will be an “improvement plan” in place with support from high-performing trust

A controversial transfer of NHS staff has been given the green light despite “significant concerns” being raised about the receiving provider, HSJ has learned.

Following a review, plans for around 250 staff in south Cumbria to transfer from Cumbria Partnership FT to Lancashire Care FT have been confirmed to go ahead in October 2019.

Many staff had expressed reluctance to transfer to LCFT, which is rated “requires improvement” by the Care Quality Commission. They triggered a review after raising concerns with the board. 

But they have been told today the transfer will go ahead alongside an “improvement” plan, which includes external support from a high-performing mental health provider from the north east.

In an email to staff today, seen by HSJ, CPFT’s chief executive Stephen Eames wrote: “During discussions (over the transfer) the CPFT board of directors have made the Morecambe Bay [Clinical Commissioning Group], NHS England and NHS Improvement aware of significant concerns brought to us by our staff.

“This has resulted in all parties agreeing that an improvement plan is to be put into place with the support of Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (NTW), to ensure that critical areas such as CAMHS are fully supported, and to provide a clear road map for services to be transformed in south Cumbria and across the whole of the Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System footprint.”

The transfer follows commissioning intentions being set out by Morecambe Bay CCG last year. The CCG covers north Lancashire and south Cumbria, and sits within the Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System.

Cumbria Partnership FT is merging with North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust, uniting their respective community and acute services to form an integrated physical health provider.

The trust’s mental health services in the north of Cumbria are transferring to Northumberland, Tyne and Wear FT, in line with the geography of the Cumbria and North East sustainability and transformation partnership. NTW is rated “outstanding” by the CQC.

Jerry Hawker, chief officer of Morecambe Bay CCG, said: “We are excited about our ambitions to transform services in south Cumbria and address the concerns that patients and families have shared with us.

Our plans will include setting out how the services in key risk areas will be transformed; such as CAMHS in South Cumbria and the urgent mental health care pathway across Lancashire and South Cumbria. The CCG has committed to a significant investment in mental health service in 2019 to support the improvement in local services in-line with the new NHS plan.”

Article updated to include quote from Morecambe Bay CCG