As many of you may be aware from reports in the media, an important update on the options for the future of Liverpool Women’s services has been published (on 6 January 2017).
Four options have been developed as part of the review of women’s and neonatal services, which began in March 2016 and is being led by NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) as part of its Healthy Liverpool programme.
The review is happening because the needs of patients have changed since Liverpool Women’s opened more than 20 years ago. Women are living longer and having babies later in life, while advances in medicine mean more premature and unwell babies are surviving when they wouldn’t have in the past. This means patients require more complex care which isn’t always available here, so many women have to be transferred to other hospitals before they can receive appropriate care, including some of the most seriously ill women. There are also new standards of care which we are unable to meet in our current location.
The review has involved Liverpool Women’s staff, members of staff from other local NHS organisations, as well as the public who were also asked for their views on the case for change last summer. This involvement informed the four options.
The four options are:
- Relocate women’s and neonatal services to a new hospital building on the same site as the new Royal Liverpool Hospital
- Relocate women’s and neonatal services to a new hospital building on the same site as Alder Hey Children’s Hospital
- Make major improvements to Liverpool Women’s Hospital on the current Crown Street site
- Make smaller improvements to the current Crown Street site.
The preferred option is to relocate women’s and neonatal services to a new hospital building on the same site as the new Royal Liverpool Hospital. We are confident that the preferred option is best placed to enable us to address the main issues facing our patients. Moving to a new purpose built building would mean that we could provide the very best care for future generations of people in Merseyside.
This option offers the most benefits for patients and provides solutions to the challenges set out in the case for change, including improved safety and patient experience, reduced transfers of patients and less separation of mothers and babies. This option is also judged to support long term clinical and financial sustainability and best value for money.
The options are included in a draft pre-consultation business case (PCBC), which was presented to the Trust Board on 6 January 2017 and which is available for the public to download on the Healthy Liverpool website. The PCBC is a detailed technical document which explains how these options have been developed and how a preferred option was chosen.
All four options would require significant capital investment and NHS England and NHS Improvement, the regulators for the NHS, have asked that further work is now done to develop detailed funding plans. This work needs to show how capital funding could be secured and demonstrate that it represents value for money. It is recognised that this presents a challenge in the current environment of constrained NHS resources.
Once this additional work is completed a final version of the business case will be submitted to NHS England for approval. If NHS regulators are assured there is a sound case to invest, the options will go out to formal public consultation, giving the public an opportunity to share their views on the detailed proposals.
We hope that Liverpool CCG’s decision to publish the draft business case will help patients and the wider public understand more about what we are trying to achieve and also how their views have helped shape this.
At present we do not have a timescale for next steps, but we will keep you informed. We know that the public consultation can’t commence until June 2017 at the earliest, given the local Mayoral elections pre-election period (purdah) restricts public consultations during this period.
Liverpool Women's Medical Director, Dr Andrew Loughney describes the options for the future of the Trust's services and how the preferred option will help make patient care fit for future generations.
If you do have any concerns or would like to give us any feedback, please contact our Patient Advice Liaison Service at: Pals@lwh.nhs.uk or by calling 0151 708 9988.
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