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Better Care Closer to Home staff briefings - frequently asked questions

As promised, we have created a list of frequently asked questions during the Better Care Closer to Home staff briefings so far.

Please note that we will continue to update and add to these questions as we go along.


Q: What is the time frame for the changes?
A: This is not yet agreed. If the proposals are approved by the CCGs, DCHS will work with the CCGs and other partners to develop an implementation plan that will set that out. The CCGs’ Business Case sets out changes that may take up to 5 years to fully introduce but some elements could happen quickly once plans are agreed.

Q: Once the decision has been made when will we know what the timeline is for the changes?
A: All parties – that is the CCGs with us and other partners such as Derbyshire Healthcare, Derbyshire County Council adult services (who provide social care) and Chesterfield Royal -  will work together to consider what order the changes can take place and when. This will be a phased plan but it is likely that information on the first phase will be agreed quite soon. When this is known, this will be shared with you.

Q: How much notice will you give us? We only had 2 weeks’ notice for the closure of Mulberry Ward…
A: We plan to give staff plenty of notice once we have worked up the plans. We dearly hope that we don’t face staff shortages and safety issues that make a service undeliverable and may require us to make more urgent changes, but should this happen we will talk through the options with staff.

Q: what should staff say to patients who ask about the consultation and changes?
A: If you are unsure what to say if asked about the proposed changes we would suggest something along the following lines: You’ll continue to receive whatever care you need with us. Please continue to keep your appointments and use our services like you have been doing. Over time, we might deliver your care in a different place but that won’t be happening yet. We’re awaiting further news from our NHS commissioners but these things don’t happen overnight. The key thing is that you will still get your care.


Q: Will we have to retrain before the ward closes and be given the opportunity to do so while in our current job so we can start straight away?
A: Yes, The Trust will support you and the POE team are committed to work with individuals to discuss their options and explore how we can best achieve these. Where needed, we will be supporting and providing provisions to enable staff to gain experience, refresh existing skills or gain new ones (i.e through education / training). This will be key for anyone transitioning between roles. 

Q: Would I need basic literacy or IT skills to undertake a nursing type role?
A: Yes, and if you do not currently hold these we will support you in undertaking training to obtain these. We already work closely with local colleges and providers who supply such training.

Q: What sort of training is available i.e online, NVQ, nurse training?
A.We have a dedicated page on MYDCHS that details our current training opportunities available. It gives details on how to access both online, internal and external training. Alongside this, we will work with you in identifying training that’s right for you and identify ways in which we may be able to provide this where it is currently not available.

Q: Who would fund the training if they wanted a career change?
A: If this occurs we will work with the individual and identify what training is available and what funding sources we have available.

Q: What if I don’t want to be retrained ?
A. Not everyone will want to retrain, and this may not be necessary for all staff. We will work with you to identify suitable opportunities that fit with you and your skill set. We will work with you in identifying suitable employment depending on your own personal circumstances.

HR and staffing

Q: At the new 24 bed ward – will there be job opportunities for DCHS staff?
A: Yes, it will be a service provided by DCHS, with DCHS staff, but located at Chesterfield Royal.

Q: Again, at this new 24 bed ward – will it be staffed by IFM from DCHS or Chesterfield Royal?
A: This level of detail is not known yet.

Q: I am a domestic and don’t want to retrain and be a HCA or clinical support. Can you give examples of what else I can do?
A: Care coordinator – clinical support in a different way, without the hands on care. Everyone will have the opportunity to identify suitable opportunities that fit with their individual skills and we will support you in doing this by providing career advice and 1:1s. Other opportunities may include administrative roles.

Q: How will staff be involved in the changes?
A: As part of any change process, we will be looking for your input and ideas on how we can best move changes forward. For affected staff there will be opportunities to be involved at every stage DCHS has a good track record of working closely with staff partnership and staff through difficult changes.

Q: DCHS has lots of vacancies now, how will we recruit people with this hanging over wards and other services?
A: This is a challenge and we will need to look at options to offer vacancies to staff in areas affected by change and also to promote DCHS effectively as a good place to work even with changes likely, this is an opportunity to join an organisation that is developing community health services. Workforce stability is crucial to maintaining service delivery and we will need to ensure we continue to make this a priority.

Q: What will be the job options be for the staff on wards that will be closed?
A: Some of this will depend on the implementation plan, but in the model proposed in the business case there will still be roles on wards, there will be more roles in the Integrated Community Teams and in supporting the ‘beds with care’.

Q: What will happen to IFM staff?
A: We recognise that the future plans and clinical models present uncertainty for IFM staff and we will look to support all staff through this change process. There are opportunities and there are already examples of where staff have taken up opportunities to develop skills in different areas. We are committed to looking at the options for individuals and offer support in checking out opportunities and looking at individual circumstances.

Q: Will staff have to apply for new jobs?
A: The existing policies and processes to support Management of Change are being reviewed to ensure they are best suited for this situation.  We will look to find a most supportive and sensitive process and recognise how difficult this is for people.

Q: Will a redundancy scheme come out?
A: At this point in time we do not envisage a redundancy scheme. As with any Management of Change, we will exhaust all possible opportunities to retrain and redeploy staff into suitable employment. We will need everyone, just possibly in alternative roles.

Q: If you are the last site or service to close, do you get the “worst” jobs which are left?
A: No we will make sure we have a fair process and will work closely with our Staff Partnership Reps to ensure that this is the case.  


Q: What will happen to services and staff bases that are on sites that are scheduled for closure but were not part of the consultation?
A: They will need to be found suitable new locations. This may potentially take a while which is why the implementation plan will span a number of years. This will also need to be done with other partners who are on the hospital sites too. If anyone is affected by a change of base, we have policies devised with staff partnership that protect excess travel.

Q: Where will the ‘hubs’ be?
A: This is not yet decided but taking the Newholme closure as an example our aim would be to have a base for services close to the town.

Q: Are services already being run down? Admissions to some wards are really low at the moment and staff are having to work on other wards.
A: Definitely not. The CCG have not made their decision yet. Any reduction in numbers maybe reflects the changing need. We would hope to have early discussions about how we adjust to make sure we are using staff effectively.

Q: Do they need to build an extra unit at Chesterfield Royal?
A: No. reduced capacity on acute medical wards will create the space required.  Thevacated ward will then be reconfigured and refurbished for the 24 beds and DCHS to run services from.

Q: What will happen to the vacated ward site at Clay Cross?
A: Not sure yet, but the space could be used differently as part of  a ‘Community Hub’ with alternative services, outpatient clinics etc. The site will not close and could be used in a different way so there might even be a need for IFM staff in a similar role as it is now e.g. catering, domestic.

Q: Professionally I understand the aims and accept the principles but emotionally I am finding this very hard, what support is there?
A: We completely understand the emotional investment staff have in the services they offer and the buildings that they work in and therefore how difficult this feels. Support is available from Resolve, staff partnership colleagues, People and Organisational Effectiveness managers and we hope also from each other as supportive colleagues and friends.

Consultation and CCGs

Q: What do you think about the fact that the CCGs don’t appear to have listened to the feedback in the consultation from staff and the public.
A: We believe that the CCGs have endeavoured to follow due process in how they have conducted and responded to the consultation.

Q: Is it a forgone conclusion?
A: No, the CCGs will go through a formal process to make the final decision at the meetings on 24th July.


Q: Isn’t this all really about making cuts?
A: The business case sets out how the money spent on services now will still be spent but the changes mean that it will be able to provide care for more people and that services would not be sustainable without these radical changes.

Q: How can this be cost effective when it will cost money to retrain people and make all the changes?
A: You are right that it will cost money for certain elements of the change but these will be one-off costs overall though the business case included information to show that the overall changes will be more cost effective and will release money from buildings to use for staffing costs.


Q: Will there be a contact number for people who have further questions?
A: This isn’t planned at the moment but we have set up a dedicated email address so send any questions through for a response to your questions or check these  FAQs, which will continue to be updated.

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