The local NHS has today launched a public consultation on a proposal for creating a single orthopaedics service for Liverpool’s hospitals.
Orthopaedics focuses on injuries or diseases affecting bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles or nerves.
Under the proposal, specialists at the two hospital Trusts who provide orthopaedics in Liverpool - Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust - would join together to become a single team working across all three hospital sites.
This would mean that most planned procedures, such as hip and knee replacements, would take place at Broadgreen in the future; whilst most un-planned procedures, such as when someone needs urgent treatment following a car accident or a bad fall, would take place at Aintree, which is already the Major Trauma Centre for Cheshire and Merseyside.
Doctors working in local orthopaedics departments believe that the proposal would improve patient care, enabling local hospitals to meet new, higher national standards for orthopaedic care. This would also help prevent these services needing to move to hospitals outside of Merseyside in the future.
Separating planned and unplanned orthopaedics procedures onto different hospital sites would also allow the service to be managed more effectively, without emergency care impacting on planned care as it does currently. This would mean fewer planned operations being cancelled, shorter waiting times, and a better patient experience.
Under the proposal, all orthopaedic outpatient clinics would continue to be delivered across all three hospital sites, ensuring that the majority of orthopaedic care is able to be delivered as close to home as possible for patients.
The proposals do not affect the Cheshire and Merseyside Major Trauma Centre, which will continue to be hosted at Aintree.
The orthopaedics proposal is part of a wider Healthy Liverpool vision for transforming hospital services in the city, which could see other hospital services join together in the same way in the future too – orthopaedics is the first to be put forward in a public consultation.
The proposal also supports the work already taking place between Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust about how they might become a single organisation in the future
Dr Fiona Lemmens, Clinical Director for the Healthy Liverpool hospitals programme, said:
“Making sure that people have access to the very best hospital services - wherever they are treated in the city - is central to the Healthy Liverpool programme.
“We’ve been working with the local orthopaedics doctors from both Aintree and the Royal Liverpool to look at how hospital services could be improved, which has led to this proposal for making some changes to how we deliver hospital-based orthopaedics care “
“We believe that bringing the city’s orthopaedics expertise together into a single team would improve patient care, by giving all patients better access to the right doctors for their specific need, and making it easier for Liverpool’s hospitals to attract skilled, specialist clinicians, share expertise and training, and meet the highest clinical standards.”
“However, it’s important to stress that no decisions have been made at this stage, and we would encourage people to share their views on this proposal with us over the coming weeks.”
In order for the orthopaedics proposal to take place, some ear, nose and throat (ENT) services would need to be moved from Broadgreen to Aintree, and some urology and general surgery services would also need to move from Broadgreen to the Royal Liverpool site.
The public consultation will take place between 26 June and 15 September 2017. People can find out more and share their views online by visiting www.healthyliverpool.nhs.uk or calling (0151) 296 7537 to ask for printed materials.
The consultation is being led by NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the organisation responsible for planning NHS services across the city, in partnership with CCGs in neighbouring Knowsley and Sefton, Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust.
During the consultation NHS Liverpool CCG will also be visiting a number of different groups and forums locally to talk about these proposals and gather people’s views.
You can view a short video animation which explains more about these changes at: www.healthyliverpool.nhs.uk
You can also find out more via Facebook at: facebook.com/healthylvpool and on Twitter at: twitter.com/healthylvpool