2022-05-25 18:42

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ICS Review Of Liverpool's Hospitals Ordered By NHS England

Centralising healthcare will lead to loss of Liverpool Hospitals in current form

Hardly a month has gone by since the abolition of the NHS universal healthcare for all principle, became law as a result of the Health & Care Act 2022.

Now Liverpool's Hospitals are the first to be reviewed by NHS England because of concerns that there are too many hospitals and services duplication! The review is to be put out to tender and will no doubt result in a private company being paid to produce a review with recommendations to cut hospitals and services as the American model of centralised healthcare services and reduced capacity is enacted.

Image: Save Liverpool Women's Hospital - click to go to their websiteThis review poses the biggest threat to the Liverpool Women's Hospital that has been under threat of closure for some time now.

Liverpool has had a women's hospital for over 20 years, and it is one of the outstanding hospitals in Europe in dealing with Women's Health and its pregnancy and birthing services.

Closing this down or re-locating it as part of another hospital will result in its expertise being compromised or even lost. Liverpool Women’s Hospital is the largest maternity hospital in Europe. It provides Maternity, Neo-Natal, Gynaecology, Genetics and Fertility care, an Emergency Room for gynaecology and early pregnancy and more. 50,000 patients use it every year from Merseyside and beyond, says the campaign group.

Of course this review will not be the only one of its kind that will be undertaken no doubt, with ALL 42 ICS eventually reviewing their geographically controlled area of NHS provided services, with the intention to follow the American healthcare system's principle of denying healthcare and maximising profits!

As in the USA, healthcare will be, and already is, rationed, centralised and reduced in order to maximise profits.

One major publication, Health Services Journal, today reported that NHS England have told the Cheshire and Merseyside ICS to instigate a review of all of Liverpool's Hospital services, and that the 'independent' review will be put out to tender to determine which organisation / business will be in charge of the review and making recommendations.

Image: NHS Gold CareBut there is possibly an element of blackmail here as the City has once again been refused national funding

"....for a biomedical research centre, which is seen as crucial in attracting more clinicians and investment. Some
believe a more coherent service configuration and voice for the sector would increase the chances of a research hub being built."

Furthermore, the Royal Liverpool Hospital was recently denied the right to bid to maintain and increase its acute bowel surgery services, with the result that Northern Care Alliance involved in a partnership with University of North Carolina Healthcare from the US and based in Manchester was allowed to bid for the services, thereby removing all acute bowel surgery capability from Liverpool and the loss of expert surgeons in this field of medicine.

The HSJ article continues:

Although there have been tentative talks around the concept of a ‘United Hospitals of Liverpool’ in recent months, it is understood these have so far only focused on one or two specialties. In a briefing document shared with HSJ, the ICS described the city’s provider landscape as“complex” and “challenged by service duplication, variation in quality and outcomes and experiences of care”.

It added:

“There are a number of service change programmes in progress to integrate acute and specialist services. However, this review will go further in recommending a long-term optimum care model for all acute and tertiary services delivered in Liverpool.

The review will also incorporate ways to maximise education, research and innovation and to enhance the reputation of the Liverpool health and care system as a place for clinicians to live and work.”

But the single biggest threat of the review is to the future of the Liverpool Women's Hospital which has been threatened with closure for some time.

The HSJ article says:

"One of the major questions to answer concerns Liverpool Women’s Hospital, for which there is alack of consensus around its relocation plans."

Despite the long-haul campaign by the Save Liverpool Women's Hospital campaign group, with the principle now of cutting NHS services and the closure of hospital wards, A&E departments across the country already having been done, it is clear that the future for the Women's Hospital is compromised.

The HSJ article continues:

"Many in the city have long thought there should be a consolidation of the providers, but there has also been a desire to retain the strong individual brands of trusts like Alder Hey and The Clatterbridge, while The Walton Centre and LHCH are rated “outstanding” by the Care Quality Commission.

An independent review for the ICS several years ago, led by former NHSE director Sir Ian Carruthers, mentioned the potential for a group model, although this was not pursued at the time.

Image: NHS TombstoneThe review will also incorporate Mersey Care, which provides mental health and physical community health services. Primary care, social care and voluntary sector partners will be key stakeholders in the review, the ICS said.

Graham Urwin, the ICS chief executive, said: “The intention of this review is to explore how best to build upon the collaboration achieved during the pandemic to better join up acute and specialist care for patients. The focus is about how to streamline care pathways, reduce duplication and improve outcomes.”

The ICS will advertise the procurement for this review at the end of this week, with a prospective start date in July."

Given the behaviour of the board of Cheshire and Mersey ICS regarding their appointment of a Chair during which they twice turned down Professor John Ashton CBE who was thought of as the best candidate for the job; it is quite clear the direction in which the ICS will go regarding this review and its appointing from the tender exercise for the Review Body.

Source: Health Services Journal / Save Liverpool Women's Hospital

See also:

Cheshire And Merseyside ICS Reject Most Suitable Candidate For Chair Vacancy

Northern Care Alliance Denies Treatment For Patient With Severe Burns Attending A&E

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