Benjamin Court staff tell Norman Lamb of their despair over employment uncertainty
Yet more north Norfolk residents could be set to lose their jobs as a result of the closure of Benjamin Court in its current form.
The former NHS hospital in Cromer officially closed its doors to inpatients this week as it undergoes a transformation to become a Social Care Reablement Centre, run by the Norfolk County Council with support from the North Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group.
Although nurses working in the former hospital were aware they would be redeployed throughout the area when the centre closed this month, the cleansing and catering staff who worked under contract with G4S were not given any information about how they would be affected.
Upon a visit to Benjamin Court by North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb and County Councillor Tim Adams, G4S staff reported they still did not know how their jobs would be affected by the NCC take over.
Concerned staff told Mr Lamb and Mr Adams that they have been told absolutely nothing by the company about their situation.
One member of staff handed in their notice but reportedly would be willing to stay on if they knew there was a potential job available to them.
Following the visit, Mr Lamb said: “I am really concerned about the situation G4S staff have been left in. Surely it is intolerable for people to be left in the dark in this way.
“I have written to the Chief Executive of G4S, Ashley Almanza, to express my concerns and to urge G4S to keep staff informed about what exactly is happening and what opportunities there may be for employment with the new service provided by the County Council.”
The motive of the site’s move from NHS service to Reablement centre is that the latter will provide patients more access to short-term social care.
As well as the G4S contract, there are also concerns regarding the loss of medical care that were previously provided by Benjamin Court, which will now provide a service more similar to social care.
Mr Adams said: “Whilst I am not opposed to the new beds at Benjamin Court, I remain very concerned at the loss of the NHS inpatient beds that have until now been there. There is also a particular need for Palliative Care in North Norfolk that is not being addressed.”
The hospital reports that all staff have now had 1-2-1s and the majority will be found alternative posts within the trust, either in other inpatient units or in community triage teams.
Mr Lamb, Mr Adams and colleagues from the Town Council will continue to observe the impact of the changes to the services.