Review of Services at Liverpool Women’s Hospital

Review of Services at Liverpool Women’s Hospital

NHS Knowsley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) can announce that four possible solutions for the future of the services provided by Liverpool Women’s Hospital have been published following a review of the services. Liverpool CCG have lead this review in partnership with Knowsley CCG, Sefton CCG and Liverpool Women’s Hospital.
Liverpool Women’s Hospital opened more than 20 years ago, and of course, the needs of patients change as more and more situations are different. Women are living longer than ever, and are having babies later in life, and advances in medicine mean that premature and unwell babies have a greater chance of surviving than ever before.
Unfortunately, the care that is needed is not always provided at Liverpool Women’s Hospital and therefore it is more common to see patients transferred to other local hospitals, such as, Aintree University Hospital, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, and The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals and other Doctors being transferred in for specific patients. This inconvenience is hindering the progression of the hospital. 
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 four proposals.
The possible solutions are:
1.      Relocate the women’s and neonatal services to a new hospital building on the same site as the new Royal Liverpool University Hospital.
2.      Relocate the women’s and neonatal services to a new hospital building on the same site as the new Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.
3.      Make major improvements to Liverpool Women’s Hospital on the current Crown Street site.
4.      Make smaller improvements to the current Crown Street site.
The possible solutions are included in a draft pre-consultation business case (PCBC), which was presented to the Board of Liverpool Women’s on 6th January 2017 and which is available for the public to download at http://www.liverpooltalkshealth.info/liverpool-womens-hospital-review-of-services.
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.
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 Fiona Lemmens, Clinical Director for the Healthy Liverpool Hospitals Programme, said: “I want to stress that this is an on-going process and no final decisions will be made until the conclusion of any future public consultation.”