Youth health service staff jobs at risk

TAKING OVER: Northorpe Hall in Mirfield will run the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service from next month. (d03021146)
TAKING OVER: Northorpe Hall in Mirfield will run the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service from next month. (d03021146)
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HEALTH workers are asking Kirklees Council to stop changes planned for a children’s mental health service until families have been consulted.

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) is due to change hands on December 1.

But union Unison says hundreds of families do not know anything about the changes – or the impact on current staff.

It says four specialist staff will lose their jobs when Mirfield’s Northorpe Hall Children and Family Trust takes over the contract from Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust.

Unison branch secretary Paul Cooney said the changes would cause anxiety and concern for families.

He said: “The clients and their families are not aware of the changes planned for their care and the fact that the NHS professional staff that have looked after them for years will no longer be doing this from December 1.

“Although the staff are angry about losing their jobs, they are also worried that the children they have built up relationships with over all those years will be upset at losing this connection and in turn this will cause real anxiety in their families.”

According to Unison, the NHS trust has said staff have the right to be transferred under employment law, but charity Northorpe thinks otherwise.

A Trust spokeswoman said it was in talks about a ‘seamless transfer’ of staff and services.

Northorpe director Tom Taylor said it was working with the Trust and unions to ‘find a way forward’ for CAMHS staff.

He said employment laws were complicated and needed careful consideration.

Since it was Kirklees Council which awarded the contract, Unison thinks it should step in. But the council said it had no plans to delay the transfer.

A spokesman said: “We are aware of all the issues. Northorpe is working with all parties with the aim of securing a satisfactory conclusion as soon as possible.”