The NHS is today (29 June 2016) asking the public to share their views as part of a review of services provided at Liverpool Women’s Hospital.
It’s the next stage in a process to improve care for women and newborn babies, which was announced in March 2016.
This engagement will provide information about the reasons why nurses, doctors and midwives believe that changes are necessary and invite people to comment on whether they understand and support the case for change.
Liverpool Women’s opened more than 20 years ago and the needs of patients have changed in that time. Women are living longer and having babies later in life, while advances in medicine mean more premature and unwell babies are surviving when they wouldn’t have in the past.
Not all of the care needed to treat these increasingly complex needs is available at Liverpool Women’s, so women and newborn babies have to be transferred to other local hospitals, often by ambulance. This means that Liverpool Women’s is unable to meet national care standards in a number of areas.
The hospital is also facing financial challenges that can’t be resolved within current arrangements.
Dianne Brown, Director of Nursing and Midwifery at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, said: “This isn’t about cutting services, this is about our midwives, nurses and doctors wanting to make what we have even better.
“The care we provide now is safe, but this is because staff are working incredibly hard to work around some of the problems we face and this is not a long-term solution. We want every single woman that accesses our services to have the very best experience possible, and that means reducing the need to be transferred between hospitals by ambulance when seriously ill.
“We know that women and families who use and depend on our services are passionate about them, and so are we. It’s really important to us that the public get involved in this process and help us to make the changes we need to give Liverpool and Merseyside services that are the very best they can be.”
Dr Fiona Lemmens from NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group, which is leading the review of services as part of the Healthy Liverpool programme, said: “While many women will have a positive experience at Liverpool Women’s, we know that the experience for certain groups of patients, in particular the most seriously ill women and babies who require complex care, is not as good as it could be.
“We think the women and newborn babies of Liverpool deserve the best services, which meet the highest standards – if we don’t change we can’t meet those standards.
“No decisions have been made yet and we need the public to share their views this summer to help us develop options.”
People have until Monday 15 August to share their views. More information and an online questionnaire is available here or by calling 0151 296 7537 to request a paper copy or alternative formats.
The following public events are taking place:
Places at the events can only be guaranteed if people book a place in advance. They can do this online here or by calling 0151 296 7537.
Views gathered during July and August will be used to develop a number of possible options for delivering women’s and newborn babies’ services in the future. These will be subject to formal public consultation, which is currently expected to happen in late 2016 or early 2017.
We welcome your comments on this story but please note that in order for your views to be heard as part of this engagement exercise you will need to respond to the dedicated questionnaire available here.