The owner of a van and car leasing company has made a kind gesture to NHS staff affected by redundancy in Whalley.

The former Calderstones Hospital in Mitton Road closed yesterday (March 31) which led to 50 staff members being sacked.

Staff at the hospital were offered roles at Mersey Care’s site in Maghull Health Park, Liverpool, but those who did not want to make the 80-mile round trip commute were sacked.

READ MORE: NHS workers sacked ‘over inability to relocate’, says GMB

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

Now, Jason Yeates, the owner of Yeates Car & Commercial Ltd, has offered to help the GMB union members affected by job losses.

Jason has offered to transport staff to Maghull Health Park on the week commencing April 8 in a large convoy along the M58 with any spare vehicles in his inventory.

They will then be parked around the area emblazoned with GMB flags to raise awareness of the decision to sack the staff at Whalley.

Chris Chamley, GMB union’s Mersey Care representative, said: “It’s important all staff who are affected attend and for our Merseyside colleagues to show solidarity.”

Those who could not or would not make the commute to Merseyside were sacked without redundancy pay on Easter Sunday.

The GMB union said members "had been offered unsuitable roles in a local trust but can’t accept them due to family and caring responsibilities".

READ MORE: Whalley: 160 East Lancashire NHS workers at risk of redundancy

A staff member said: “The new Maghull service is a one-hour commute for Lancashire-based staff on top of a 12-hour shift. Staff are between a rock and a hard place.

“Some of the staff have worked at Calderstones for years, cared for some exceptionally complex patients in that time, and are being treated appallingly in my view.”

Previously, a Mersey Care spokesperson said they were “aware of concerns” among some of their workforce relating to the transfer to Maghull.

They said it followed NHS England’s decision to cease commissioning forensic learning disability services from Whalley.