The NHS has launched a public consultation about proposals for five Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (LUHFT) services – breast surgery, general surgery, nephrology, urology, and vascular surgery.
Running from 7 June until 2 August 2022, the consultation is part of a wider plan to better organise where care happens across Aintree, the Royal Liverpool, and Broadgreen hospitals.
The proposals involve bringing staff together – where they aren’t already working as a single team – so that care is more joined up.
Bringing clinical teams together and reducing duplication across Liverpool’s main adult hospitals, will help make the most of specialist staff and resources, and ensure that all patients receive the same, high-quality treatment, whichever hospital they use.
If the changes went ahead, it would mean that in some cases people would be treated at a different LUHFT hospital than they might currently use.
This would mainly affect specialist surgery and inpatient care (where an overnight stay in hospital is required), but there are separate plans for each of the five services.
People can find out more and fill out an online questionnaire at: www.futureLUHFT.nhs.uk
Those who need printed information, alternative formats, or languages other than English can call (0151) 247 6406 (Monday to Friday, between 9am-5pm), text: 07920 206 386 or email: future.LUHFT@nhs.net
The proposed changes are:
- Breast surgery – All breast surgery would take place under a single specialist team based at the Royal Liverpool Hospital. Previously, surgery also took place at Aintree Hospital – this was temporarily stopped as a result of COVID-19 measures, but if the change went ahead it wouldn’t return in the future.
- General Surgery (abdominal and intestines, including gastrointestinal tract, liver, colon and pancreas) – Aintree Hospital would focus on providing all emergency surgery, while the Royal Liverpool Hospital would provide planned specialist surgery. Currently, the two hospitals each provide some aspects of both. Planned (elective) care would no longer take place at Broadgreen Hospital.
- Nephrology (kidneys) – All inpatient care would be centralised at a single, specialist kidney centre at the Royal Liverpool Hospital. Currently, some of this care also takes place at Aintree Hospital. Satellite outpatient sites based at Aintree, Broadgreen, St Helens, Warrington, Halton, Waterloo, and Southport would continue to operate as they do now.
- Urology (urinary tract/male genitals) - All inpatient care would take place at a single, specialist unit based at the Royal Liverpool Hospital, which would provide both planned surgery and be able to provide around-the-clock emergency care. Outpatient services and day case procedures would continue to take place at both the Royal Liverpool and Aintree, but would no longer be offered at Broadgreen.
- Vascular surgery (arteries, veins and lymphatic system) - All inpatient care would move to Aintree Hospital, where currently it is also provided at the Royal Liverpool. Outpatient clinics would not be affected and would continue to be offered at Whiston, Southport, and Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, as well at Aintree and the Royal.
The proposals were developed by staff working in each of the five services, as part of a process to look at how care could be improved in the future.
They don’t involve any reduction in funding – in fact, the changes would mean additional investment for some of the services involved. This is set out in more detail in the public consultation materials.
No final decisions have been made yet – feedback from the public consultation will be used to inform a final business case, which is due to be published in Autumn 2022.
Dr Tristan Cope, Critical Care Consultant at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (LUHFT), explains:
“It’s really important that everyone using our services has access to the same, high-quality care – regardless of which of our hospitals they are treated at. The proposals set out in this public consultation are about making the most of our specialist staff and resources, so that we can raise standards and ensure that we provide the best care possible.
“We really want to hear what members of the public think about how these proposals might impact upon them. I’d encourage everyone who uses our services, or who might in the future, to take the opportunity to share their views. We’ll be using this feedback to make sure that we get it right for our patients and the wider community.”
Those who would prefer to provide their feedback over the phone can also use the contact details above to get in touch with NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is co-ordinating the public consultation on behalf of NHS Knowsley CCG, NHS Liverpool CCG, NHS South Sefton CCG, and NHS Southport & Formby CCG.
In addition, a number of online meetings will take place during June, giving people a chance to hear about the proposals, and take part in focus-group discussions. For details of when these events are taking place and how to sign up, visit: www.futureLUHFT.nhs.uk