Review of Women’s and Neonatal Services


The review of women’s and neonatal services in Liverpool is led by NHS Liverpool CCG in partnership with Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust, and
Knowsley and
South Sefton CCGs.
This briefing provides an update on the review, following notification from NHS Improvement that the Department of Health has agreed £15 million in funding to upgrade the current neonatal unit at Liverpool Women’s Hospital.
The neonatal unit at Liverpool Women’s does not currently have enough space for the number of babies it cares for; babies on the unit are especially vulnerable to infection, and this risk is higher when there is not enough space around cots. This new funding will be used to make urgent improvements, creating more space for cots and increased parent accommodation, meaning better, safer care.    
While the neonatal funding is crucial for ensuring that newborn babies receive the best care in the medium-term, it does not alter the view of commissioners and Liverpool Women’s that the best long-term option would be for services to move to a new Liverpool Women’s Hospital, next to the new Royal Liverpool Hospital.
The lack of space on the neonatal unit was just one of a number of significant challenges facing Liverpool Women’s identified by clinicians, many of which relate to the hospital’s isolated position. This includes the fact that due to medical advances the NHS can offer better treatments, meaning that more women need care from doctors who are not based at Liverpool Women’s, such as cardiologists, urologists and colorectal surgeons. Also, because the Crown Street site doesn’t have an adult intensive care unit, critically ill patients have to be transferred to either the Royal Liverpool or Aintree Hospitals.
In September 2017 an independent report by the Northern England Clinical Senate was published, which confirmed the need to change the way that services for women and newborn babies are delivered in Liverpool, and backed proposals for the future. The full Senate report is available on the NHS Liverpool CCG website: http://www.liverpoolccg.nhs.uk/media/2677/lwh-report-finaldocx.pdf.
The independent Clinical Senate report was requested by NHS England as part of their process to make sure that proposals are fit for purpose. This assurance process is still underway and if approval is given, the proposal will be subject to a formal public consultation. Due to the six-week pre-election period ahead of the local government elections in May 2018, the earliest that public consultation could now begin would be summer 2018.
If the decision was made to build a new Liverpool Women’s Hospital it would take at least 5 years from the point of approval. In the meantime, the hospital still needs to invest in upgrading services at the Crown Street site to ensure that services are safe and meet the needs of patients now.
Further updates for stakeholders will be provided as plans develop. Members of the public who wish to be kept informed can sign up at: www.healthyliverpool.nhs.uk or by calling 0151 296 7537.