Options for the future of Liverpool Women’s hospital published

Four options for the future of services provided by Liverpool Women’s hospital have been published.

The options have been developed as part of a 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 Healthy Liverpool programme is looking at hospital services across north Merseyside (covering Knowsley, Liverpool and Sefton) as part of its work.

This review is being delivered by Liverpool CCG in partnership with Liverpool Women’s, with support from South Sefton CCG and Knowsley CCG, whose patients also use these services.

Aintree University Hospital, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals are also closely involved.

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 at the Women’s, 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 the Women’s is unable to meet in its current location.

The review has involved staff from NHS organisations across the city, including midwives, nurses and doctors from the Women’s and other hospitals. The public were also asked for their views on the case for change at the hospital last summer, and these were used to develop the four options.

The 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 options are included in a draft pre-consultation business case (PCBC), which was presented to the Board of Liverpool Women’s today and which is available for the public to download at www.healthyliverpool.nhs.uk.

The PCBC is a detailed technical document which explains how these options have been developed and how a preferred option was chosen.

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. This is because it 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 judged to support long term clinical and financial sustainability and best value for money.

Dr Fiona Lemmens, Clinical Director for the Healthy Liverpool Hospitals Programme, said: “It is really important to us that this is an open and transparent process. We hope that publishing the draft business case will help the public understand what we’re doing and see how the views they shared with us last summer are being used to shape the future of these services. We want to ensure women and newborns receive the very best care possible and we believe the preferred option will allow us to do this.”

Andrew Loughney, Medical Director at Liverpool Women’s, said: “Midwives, nurses and doctors at Liverpool Women’s have been central to developing options for the future as part of this review. 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.”

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.

At the same time, the final version of the PCBC needs to reflect the findings of a broader review of neonatal services, which is currently being undertaken by the Cheshire and Merseyside Neonatal Network and which will report in the spring of 2017.

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 detailed proposals for the future of women’s and neonatal services.

Dr Lemmens added: “I want to stress that this is an ongoing process and no final decisions will be made until the conclusion of any future public consultation.”

Members of the public who want to be kept informed can sign up at www.healthyliverpool.nhs.uk or call 0151 296 7537.

Changes to visiting times at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital

Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust is changing visiting times to ensure patients can enjoy their lunch without distractions.

Visiting times at Southport and Ormskirk hospitals will now run from 1pm to 8.30pm. This does not include maternity and neonatal wards which have their own visiting times. Visitors who come in to assist patients with meals are still welcome from midday, they are just asked to identify themselves to a member of staff on arrival.

Carol Fowler, Acting Deputy Director of Nursing, said: “We extended our visiting times last year as we recognised the importance of visitors in aiding patients’ recovery.

“Nutritious meals also play a large part in recovery and we’ve noticed some patients becoming distracted at lunchtime and their food was cold by the time they came to eat it, or they weren’t eating at all. We hope by adjusting the visiting start time slightly, our patients will see the benefit.”

If friends and family find these visiting times are not convenient, they can speak to the nurse in charge of the ward who will be able to help.

Hospital told to make further improvements to A&E by watchdog

SOUTHPORT and Ormskirk Hospital requires considerable improvements to make both sites safer, more effective, responsive and an improvement in leadership – according to a care watchdog report.

Inspectors from the Care and Qualities Commission visited the Trust in April of this year to see how much improvement had been made since its previous report in May 2015.

Some postives could be taken from the report, which was released on Tuesday (November 15), as the North West Regional Spinal Injuries Unit at Southport hospital improved two levels from Inadequate to Good with some aspects of outstanding practice.

Inspectors also noted improvements the maternity service had made at Ormskirk hospital, rating it Requires Improvement. It was previously rated Inadequate.

Yet overall improvements still need to be made to raise the hospital’s rating further. Perhaps most damningly the CQC has rated  the accident and emergency department and the surgical services at Southport and Formby District General Hospital as Inadequate.

Inspectors found that the hospital did not give sufficient priority to safety in urgent care.

Patients needing urgent care were waiting too long to be seen and assessed, with some patients remaining in the department under the supervision of ambulance staff for periods of up to 11 hours.

In surgery at Southport and Formby District General Hospital, staff did not always assess, monitor or manage risks to people who use the services and opportunities to prevent or minimise harm were missed.

Medically deteriorating patients were not always identified promptly and there could be a delay before medical assessment was undertaken.

The recruitment of suitable medical staff was challenging with vacancies for junior doctors and consultants.

Recruitment and retention of nursing and midwifery had been a longstanding issue.

However, the inspectors found there had been a notable improvement in both the maternity services and the North West Regional Spinal Injuries Centre which had both received Inadequate ratings at the last inspection. The Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said: “Two years ago we identified a number of problems at Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust.

“I am disappointed that overall the progress has been limited and that we have found a deterioration in the safety and quality of some of the trust’s services, particularly in the emergency department at Southport and Formby Hospital.

“I note with concern the delays in patients being assessed in the accident and emergency department, and the risks to safety in surgery which must be addressed.

“Since our inspection earlier this year the trust has taken steps to improve – and we are monitoring that on a monthly basis.

“On the other hand, there have been significant improvements in all aspects of patient care and treatment at the North West Regional Spinal Injuries Unit that we had previously rated as inadequate for safety. It is now rated as Good with some aspects of outstanding practice.

“We have also found improvements within the maternity service although there is room for further progress.

“Until recently, the trust was led by an interim executive team, which limited the ability to demonstrate a clear strategy for the future.

“It is important now that the new executive team focusses on the areas where we have identified continuing shortfalls.”

Rob Gillies, executive medical director, said: “The inspection they said the Trust possessed ‘committed, compassionate, and passionate staff who are willing to go above and beyond to do their best for patients’.

“We are delighted to see this confirmed.”

Responding to the rating of A&E and surgical services at Southport, Mr Gillies said significant progress had been made on the issues the inspectors raised seven months ago.

“A&E is now a very different department. We have benefited from external support and put in resources of our own, including an extra £600,000 for nurses staffing.

“This has contributed to a major improvement with the department regularly the best performer in Cheshire and Merseyside and consistently among the top performers in the country,” he said.