You can view frequently asked questions about the merger between Aintree University Hospital and the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals here.
Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Hospitals University Hospitals NHS Trust becoming one organsation is to help take the pressures off hospital services and improve the safety and quality of care we deliver.
Both sites are facing challenges, such as waiting times for services and achieving high standards of care for all patients, as well as financial challenges and recruitment issues. While these are all significant challenges, we believe that by coming together we have a much better chance of addressing and overcoming them, for the benefit of our combined patients.
This is not about losing local services but about saving them. Standards for care, which are set by the Royal Colleges and the NHS nationally, continue to improve as medicine advances. All the evidence tells us that doing more complex work, more often leads to better results for patients and this is being reflected in the standards services must meet. Because of these standards, many highly specialist services may only be available in one hospital in a region. Unless we arrange services locally there is a real risk that we will lose them to areas which have already brought services together.
We will need to review how services are delivered and for some areas it could mean change is needed if we are to improve care for our patients. At this stage we have no agreed plans, other than for trauma and orthopaedics. Our doctors, nurses and health professionals will need to decide the best way to deliver care, taking the best from each service and proposing the best way to give care for all patients. In doing so, we would always aim to keep care as local as possible.
For example, they might decide that bringing together all the inpatient care on one site would allow for what is called a ‘critical mass’. This means that the team involved see so many patients that they increase their skill levels (because they’re doing more complex work, more often) and that results in better outcomes for patients. At the same time, outpatient’s clinics, which patients spend most time in, could be run at local hospital sites.
The public consultation on changes to trauma and orthopaedics care provides an example of exactly this approach. The clinical teams agreed that it would help patients if emergency care and one off surgery were concentrated at one location, while still delivering outpatient clinics at all sites. During the public consultation, we received very positive feedback to this proposal, with patients supportive of the benefits it would bring.
Further details can be found here.
Neither A&E department will close.
A full range of patient benefits are outlined in our full business case.
We would always aim to keep care as local as possible. However, if the recommendations from our clinical teams suggest it may lead to improved care for the location of some services to change, we would complete an equality impact assessment. This helps us to consider the impact (positive and negative) on patients and what we can do to minimise any negative impact.
Following this, for any major service change we would undertake a public consultation in which we would describe the proposal, the benefits and how we believe it would impact patients. The public consultation would allow us to understand the views of patients and the public and consider them before making a decision on how services are delivered.
As described above, we received very positive feedback to the trauma and orthopaedics proposals as patient felt the benefits they would receive outweighed the additional ad-hoc travel and having surgery further from home in this case was acceptable. In the small number of cases where travel was a challenge we received suggestions for how this could be overcome and were able to include these in our proposal for the services.
Our partnership is based on the principle of sustaining local services and our workforce is key to delivering these. Indeed, one of the key challenges we face at the moment is in not being able to recruit enough clinical staff at varying levels, which means there are lots of opportunities now, and in the future, for people to grow their careers with us. We are also in the early stages of developing our plans to bring together certain “shared services”, such as finance and human resources, among others, as our ambition is to create an outstanding support service for our clinical teams. We will be working through these plans in the coming months and talking with staff as they develop.
We are not anticipating any compulsory redundancies as a result of this.
At this stage we have not progressed enough in our thinking to offer more detailed information but we will keep staff fully informed about any changes, as well as any potential opportunities on offer.
The proposal to bring services together into single teams covering the whole city has been clinically led and the main focus is about improving access to services for all patients, the quality of services and their sustainability.
Both Aintree and The Royal and Broadgreen, like others hospitals across the country, have deficits. They also have increasing demand for services, which must be met without increasing costs. This process would not cancel these out. However, in the absence of more money, it is a way to improve care without it costing more. Running separate services means there is duplication, which creates unnecessary waste and delays to care. By making services efficient we can ensure the money we have is spent in the best possible way.