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A message from the Chief Executive about the future of our services

I am writing this blog with mixed emotions. I am pleased to have the opportunity to update you on some recent developments about the potential future of our services. But I am also sad that after 40 years in the NHS, and 15 years serving as Chief Executive at Liverpool Women’s, I will be retiring at the end of the year and therefore this will most likely be my final blog on the subject of Liverpool Women’s future.

You may be aware that a demonstration march is being planned for Saturday 7th October by the local campaign group Save Liverpool Women’s Hospital.

We understand that the march is to demonstrate support for the NHS as a whole and is not limited to campaigning on issues relating to Liverpool Women’s. Of course, everyone is entitled to demonstrate and support any cause they wish. However, because of the name of the campaign group and the materials being circulated to promote the event, we feel that this could lead to some confusion for our patients and the general public about how the demonstration relates to us. 

So I wanted to take this opportunity, ahead of the demonstration, to clarify a few things for anyone attending, for anyone who is thinking about attending, and for anyone who may just hear about it happening.

For the last 8 years, over half of my tenure as Chief Executive, a significant amount of my time, along with many other leaders and staff across the Trust, has been spent trying to plan for the long-term future of our services.

In 2015, the Board of Directors here declared that we felt our services were unsustainable in their existing form in the long-term and that change was needed. There were many reasons for this but in summary the challenges we faced then, and continue to face now, centre around the changing needs in healthcare over recent years, the limited access we have to other specialist care and facilities due to us being an isolated site, and the associated financial costs of mitigating all of these challenges and risks over a long period of time.

Following this, we began our Future Generations Strategy in 2015 to look at possible solutions to the challenges we face by working with our partner organisations across the NHS. Our aim has been to ensure that we continue to provide the best quality of care for people accessing women’s services in the city and the wider region, for the long-term future. This has remained a priority for us over the last 8 years.

More recently in 2022, NHS Cheshire and Merseyside oversaw a review to look at how Liverpool’s hospitals could work better together to improve care for patients. Addressing the challenges affecting women’s health was one of three critical priorities identified as part of the review, and as a result a new programme of work has been established, with the aim of ensuring that the very best care for women and babies is delivered for the long-term future. A paper explaining how this programme will work was presented to the NHS Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care Board in February 2023.

A Women’s Services Committee (WSC) was established earlier this year by NHS Cheshire and Merseyside to take this work forward and you can read a recent briefing about this from their Chair, Raj Jain here:

It is important to say that no decisions about the future of our services have been made and any formal plans would be subject to a public consultation where everyone would have the opportunity to have their say. But I am encouraged that issues relating to the future of our services are now being discussed and led at a regional level to come up with the best solution for women and babies.

As this programme of work develops, there will be opportunities to get involved in discussions and I would encourage everyone to do so when invited.

As this will most likely be my final blog on this topic before I retire, I want to sign off with the following messages.

We know that Liverpool Women’s Hospital as a place is very special to people in the city and beyond. Since it was officially opened in 1995, around 215,000 babies have been born here. My two grandchildren were born here.

However, what makes our services special is the staff who provide them, and the quality of care that our patients receive. Safety and quality of care has always been our number one priority throughout this journey, since 2015.

All healthcare needs to evolve and this region has a rich history of constantly evolving women’s healthcare which goes back to 1796. Our work since 2015, and the work NHS Cheshire and Merseyside is now taking forward, is just the next step in discovering what services could look like in the future for the benefit of all women and babies in the region. 

You can read more about the work NHS Cheshire and Merseyside is leading here:


Kathryn Thomson
Chief Executive

06 October 2023