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Ending the year on a high: December 2018 stakeholder brief

December 2018 stakeholder brief

It’s great to be ending the year on a high with workmen back on site at the new Royal.

As you may have seen in recent media coverage, we were able to take TV cameras behind the scenes to witness some of the work that management contractor Laing O’Rourke are currently undertaking. These tasks and others are part of the necessary preparatory works ahead of beginning the revised construction programme. It was also a pleasure to welcome MP Louise Ellman and Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram to the site and thank them, along with Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool and other local politicians, our staff and supporters, for everything they have done to get to where we are today.

We are currently working with Laing O’Rourke through the procurement process with around 140 contractors who were previously employed on the site, to get construction completed as soon as possible.

Going into the New Year we will see work start to accelerate, in line with Laing O’Rourke’s construction programme and we expect the new Royal to be handed over to us by the end of 2020.

You may have also seen recent media coverage on our bed capacity and bed numbers. These reports, (based on winter situation reports published by NHS England) suggested that the Trust was operating at 100% capacity throughout the first week in December. This wasn’t the case, like most trusts across the country, we were operating at high levels of capacity, but it was not 100% and we continued to provide beds for patients that needed them.

Reports also suggested that there were around 100 fewer beds across the Trust this year than last year. This too was incorrect.

I can clarify that last year we had 802 beds. This included 11 ‘escalation’ beds used to help manage increased demand, which had been kept in use from the previous winter. Last year we used an additional 34 ‘escalation’ beds, bringing the total last year to 834.

This year we had 791 beds open prior to winter and opened 24 escalation beds in the first week of December. As part of our plans to manage increased demands on our service we plan to open a total of 48 beds, meaning we will have 839 open beds this year, which is 4 more beds, not 100 fewer beds, than last year.

We have reviewed our internal processes with our business intelligence and operational teams to understand how this incorrect data came to be published in the winter situation reports. Going forward we have strengthened our review of this data set prior to it being submitted.

Reports also speculated on bed numbers in the new Royal and how we will manage capacity when we move in. I’d like to reassure you that we have a detailed plan for how we will manage our bed numbers for moving into the new Royal. This involves increasing bed numbers at Broadgreen Hospital, moving some services to specialist centres close by and providing care more efficiently, to reduce the demand on our beds.

So whilst the new Royal will have 646 beds, together with Broadgreen Hospital we expect to have around the same number of beds across the Trust as we currently have. We are confident that our plans, together with programmes to increase capacity for community based care, will provide sufficient capacity by the time we move into the new Royal.

In January, BBC Two’s Hospital documentary series is set to air. The programme will showcase some of the hard work of our staff and local colleagues, and also highlight some of the challenges that we have had to overcome this year.

As we bring 2018 to a close and get set to welcome 2019 we can look forward to renewed optimism. I’d like to thank you all for supporting us throughout 2018 and I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!