An employee said she was “stunned” after the hospice she worked at announced it would merge with others in Sussex.

The staff member, who wished to remain anonymous, was told about the merging of St Barnabas Hospices and Martlets Hospice yesterday and said the team were left with little time to ask questions or raise concerns. They told The Argus they were worried about redundancies.

St Barnabas, which incorporates St Barnabas House in Worthing and Chestnut Tree House in Arundel, and Martlets Hospice, in Wayfield Avenue, Hove, will still operate with their existing names but will be run by a single leadership team.

This new team will start working imminently.

A spokeswoman for St Barnabas said: “It’s very much business as usual for staff and patients. Each hospice will retain its own branding and identity, and shops will be unaffected.

“News of the merger was announced simultaneously across all sites yesterday, with all staff given the opportunity to ask questions at Q and A sessions on the same day. There will be additional sessions over the coming weeks.

“As with any merging of organisations, a review of structures and positions will need to take place in due course. Whilst redundancies can’t be ruled out, they will always be seen as a last resort, and every effort will be made to minimise the number of people that may be affected.”

The hospices said the merger “aims to create a stronger, more sustainable and comprehensive hospice care organisation” and is committed to “delivering outstanding patient care across the communities”.

They said the merger will combine “the strengths and expertise of three hospices” and the organisations hope to improve access to specialist palliative and end of life care, achieve greater efficiency, and ultimately benefit patients, families, staff and the wider communities.

Amanda Fadero, chief executive, said: “We are excited about the possibilities and opportunities that this merger brings and look forward to continuing our shared mission of providing outstanding hospice care to those that need it. Together, we will build a stronger foundation for compassionate palliative and end of life care in our communities.”