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by Kathryn Thomson

Chief Executive

Looking to the future without a crystal ball!

The future of the NHS is a hot topic and I am not just concerned with the future here at Liverpool Women’s. As head of a hospital providing so much important care to women, babies and their families, I spend part of my time in the wider community, helping to look at the "big picture" in planning future health strategy for our region. I currently lead a small group charged with helping to shape the future of health services across the whole of Cheshire and Merseyside, based on the needs of our diverse populations.

Our needs here in Merseyside and Cheshire may be very different from what an area in the south might need. For example, we still have higher levels of alcohol consumption, smoking and poverty with all the health issues that each of these can bring.

Future health strategy will have to be based on meeting these needs. This means tailoring the training of our future workforce to deliver all sections of our population with the care they are likely to need. This involves us working with the Royal Colleges about the sort of skills that future doctors, midwives and nurses should have that will combine what healthcare workers want with what employers will need.

Finding out what our own workforce is thinking is high on my agenda. That’s why any member of staff or a group can make an appointment to join me in my office for morning coffee or afternoon tea. Some might just want to meet me and tell me about their work. We may share ideas about how we can improve services or they may want to point out where they feel we are not doing so well. Whatever we discuss, we usually have one thing in common - we feel Liverpool Women’s is a special place - almost unique in fact.

That’s because there are only two women’s hospitals in the country. We are one and the other is Birmingham Women’s Hospital. We have recently come together to form a Women’s Alliance. Together we hope to ensure that our organisations receive sufficient systems of funding to deliver safe and effective maternity care. We will also be keeping a watchful eye and lobbying the Department of Health when necessary around government policies associated with women’s health issues both now and in the future.

26 October 2011