Plans have been approved which will bring together a number of Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (LUHFT) services, to reduce duplication and improve patient care.
The decision will mean changes to breast surgery, general surgery, nephrology, urology, and vascular surgery at the Trust.
Teams working in each of the five services developed the plans as part of a process to look at how to provide the very best quality of care across the three LUHFT hospital sites – Aintree, Broadgreen and the Royal Liverpool.
Dr Jim Gardner, Chief Medical Officer at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (LUHFT) said: “I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to share their views as part of the public consultation. These responses have helped to give us a deeper understanding about the impact that the plans will have and what we can do to better support those involved. Our aim is to ensure that we are making the best use of our specialist staff and resources. This will help us to improve the outcomes for patients. The ambition is to provide the best care possible and ensure that everyone using our services has access to the same, high-quality care, regardless of which of our hospitals they use.”
The changes will mainly affect surgery and inpatient care (where an overnight stay in hospital is required). Once they go ahead, some people will be treated at a different LUHFT hospital that they might currently use.
The announcement comes as the phased move into a new Royal Liverpool University Hospital – a key part of these plans – has begun.
The proposals were set out in a public consultation which ran from 7 June until 2 August 2022, attracting more than 2,800 responses. The consultation also presented a wider plan to better organise where care happens across Aintree, the Royal Liverpool, and Broadgreen hospitals, with the largest group of respondents (43%) stating that they thought this was a good plan, followed by those who thought it was a good plan in some respects but not all (29%). The remaining respondents (28%) did not think it is a good plan or were still unsure.
Key issues expressed through the consultation included: travel, transport, parking and accessibility; continuity of care and joined up care for patients accessing different services; staffing provision and training opportunities; the ability of sites to cope with the increased demand; and the implications of patient transfers between hospital sites. A full report into the consultation is available at www.futureLUHFT.nhs.uk
Feedback received during the consultation was used to produce a final business case, which was approved by LUHFT’s board on 22 September 2022, followed by NHS Cheshire and Merseyside on 29 September 2022. It was then put to a joint local authority overview and scrutiny committee (OSC), made of representatives from local authorities in Knowsley, Liverpool and Sefton, on 30 September 2022.
Changes will start to take place this month, but the exact timescales will be different for each service. Patients will be informed directly if they need to attend a different hospital – they don’t need to do anything differently unless they hear from LUHFT. A summary of the changes is as follows:
- Breast Surgery – The public consultation sets out plans for all breast surgery to take place at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital. Previously, surgery also took place at Aintree University Hospital – this has temporarily moved to Broadgreen as a result of COVID-19 measures. In the longer term all breast surgery is planned to take place at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Outpatient clinics are not affected and will continue to be offered at Aintree University Hospital and the Royal Liverpool University Hospital
- General Surgery (abdominal and intestines, including gastrointestinal tract, liver, colon and pancreas) – All planned general surgery will take place at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital – currently, some planned general surgery also takes place at Aintree and Broadgreen hospitals. The public consultation also set out proposals for all emergency general surgery to take place at Aintree University Hospital, but this part of the plan has been paused to allow more time to consider the impact of the move – for the time being, emergency general surgery will continue to take place at the Royal too
- Nephrology (kidneys) – All inpatient care will be centralised at a single, specialist kidney centre at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital. Currently, some of this care also takes place at Aintree University Hospital. Satellite outpatient sites based at Aintree, Broadgreen, St Helens, Warrington, Halton, Waterloo, and Southport will continue
- Urology (urinary tract/male genitals) – All inpatient care will take place at a single, specialist unit based at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, which will provide both planned surgery and be able to provide around-the-clock emergency care. Outpatient services and day case procedures will continue to take place at both the Royal Liverpool and Aintree, but will no longer be offered at Broadgreen
- Vascular (arteries, veins and lymphatic system) - All inpatient care will move to Aintree University Hospital – currently, it is also provided at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital. Outpatient clinics will not be affected and will continue to be offered at Whiston, Southport, and Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, as well at Aintree and the Royal.
The changes won’t involve any reduction in funding – additional investment will be made in some of the services involved.