Nurses who work for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership Trust could face redundancy because of changes to school nursing services in the region.
Up to 50 jobs are said to be potentially at risk amid moves to create a whole new public health service for children and young people across the county.
From September this year the school nursing service in Staffordshire’s schools will be replaced with a wider initiative called the Children and Young People’s Health and Wellbeing Programme.
“The [new] service will require a different staff model and skill mix than previously provided by the school nursing service”
Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership Trust
This will see support extended to children aged five to 19 covering areas including emotional wellbeing and sexual health as well as specialist support for children in care and those with special needs and disabilities.
Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership Trust, which held the school nursing contract, bid to run the service for Staffordshire County Council but lost out to nearby Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust in a competitive tendering process.
However, Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent did win the contract to provide the service for Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
Nurses working in county schools will transfer to the Birmingham trust with their terms and conditions protected, under regulations called Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment), also known as TUPE.
But there is a question mark over the future of nursing staff working in city schools who have been told services will run along different lines.
“Clearly, some of the staff will be slotted into the new structure and others…will be appointed to roles following competitive interviews”
Royal College of Nursing spokesman
Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership Trust would not comment on potential job losses but chief executive Stuart Poynor confirmed the structure of the service would be different.
“The specification for the service is determined by the council as our commissioners and we are aware that the service will require a different staff model and skill mix than previously provided by the school nursing service,” he said.
“We will continue to work closely with staff to support them through these changes.”
A spokesman for the Royal College of Nursing in the East and West Midlands said 50 staff at the trust were known to be at risk of redundancy because of the re-tendering of the city service.
However, he said RCN did not know how many posts were in the new structure.
“Clearly, some of the staff placed at risk will be slotted into the new structure and others – where there are more people than posts – will be appointed to roles following competitive interviews,” he told Nursing Times.
“TUPE will apply to the staff delivering the service in the county who are due to transfer to Birmingham Community Healthcare,” he added.