Around 160 East Lancashire NHS workers could lose their jobs with the winding-down of a specialist hospital site.

Staff have been told there will be job losses relating to the former Calderstones Hospital site in Whalley, via an announcement made by e-mail last Saturday.

Calderstones was a learning disabilities and mental health facility, which has been managed latterly by Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Staff have been told remaining services are relocating to Mersey Care's Maghull Health Park, more than 40 miles away.

Trust chiefs say learning disability services in Whalley will be transferred as part of long-term Mersey Care proposals to withdraw from the Mitton Road site.

Chris Chamley, the GMB union's Mersey Care representative, said this makes it very difficult for staff to travel to work and back with personal commitments such as childcare.

He said: "They are offering jobs at Magull but this is not a suitable alternative for staff. It is an 80-mile round trip.

"For someone who has to work nights, a 13-hour shift and then extra travel time is not safe.

"I hope they will realise this is not suitable, and will find other opportunities for the staff elsewhere in the NHS."

Secure unit patients have already been transferred away from the old Calderstones site over the course of several years, while other services have closed.

Workers will be officially made redundant on Sunday, March 31.

A Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust spokesman said: "We are aware of unrest among some of our workforce at the receipt of letters confirming changes in working conditions alongside the transfer of care from our Whalley site to Aspen Wood, based at Maghull Health Park.

"This follows NHS England's decision to cease commissioning forensic learning disability services from Whalley, which will now close and its buildings transferred to Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust.

"Throughout this process, Mersey Care has supported all staff who want to continue their careers within the NHS by offering opportunities within our trust and other organisations.

"Legally, we are required to offer redundancy as one of the options for those who no longer want to continue their employment with Mersey Care.

"We will continue working with our workforce, staff side and partners to ensure a smooth transfer of care and services."

In September 2022, staff at the former Calderstones Hospital site held a rally demanding answers over job security.

Bosses at Mersey Care took over the former Calderstones NHS Partnership in 2016, which then employed 800 across Lancashire and Greater Manchester.

A government review, led by Sir Stephen Bubb, published that December, recommended the closure of the Whalley site.

Mr Chamley added: "There are 130,000 job vacancies in the NHS, but us at the Whalley site have dedicated contracts for set days and night shifts.

"No other NHS employer now has these contracts, and it is going to be very difficult to find these people jobs with agreements for childcare and other things around times for personal commitments.

"At the moment we are getting the bad end of the deal."

Part of the accommodation at Whalley has been taken over by Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust.