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£450 million plans for Leicester’s hospitals get go-ahead

8th June 2021 | By Liz Mattock | Posted in

£450 million transformation plans to improve Leicester’s hospitals’ acute hospital and maternity services have been given the go-ahead.

The decision was made at an Extraordinary Governing Body meeting this afternoon, hosted by Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Groups (LLR CCGs) following a three-month public consultation last year.

In total there were 5,675 responses to the consultation, which reached out to more than 1.8 million people, providing an opportunity to the LLR population to engage in discussions and provide their opinions on the proposals.

A Decision Making Business Case (DMBC) was presented and discussed at this afternoon’s meeting, setting out how the CCGs and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) responded to the consultation feedback, any changes made as a result of what people said, and the final plans that the CCGs and UHL intend to take forward.

Overall, there was strong support for the proposals; 58 per cent of those who responded to the survey agreed with the proposal to consolidate services at the Leicester Royal Infirmary and Glenfield Hospital,  with a minority 28 per cent disagreeing; .60 per cent agreed with the proposal to create a new treatment centre and 25% disagreed; 64 per cent expressed that they liked the proposal of using increased use of technology; 67 per cent also liked the idea of a primary care centre at the Leicester General Hospital and a majority 77 per cent were in support of a new Children’s hospital with 8 per cent opposing the proposal.

The Governing Bodies of the three CCGs recognised that the CCGs had met their statutory duties by ensuring that an effective and robust public consultation process had been undertaken to inform decisions.

They went on to agree the final proposals giving the green light for moving acute services onto two of the current three hospital sites with acute services being provided at Leicester Royal Infirmary and Glenfield Hospital.

The Leicester Royal Infirmary will become host to a new state-of-the-art maternity hospital, also providing a midwifery-led birth centre alongside the obstetric unit. Existing maternity services (services provided in pregnancy, childbirth and post-pregnancy) and neonatal services will be moved from Leicester General Hospital to Leicester Royal Infirmary and breastfeeding services will be enhanced for mothers by providing post-natal breastfeeding drop-in sessions alongside peer support.

The Leicester Royal Infirmary will also see the creation of a new Children’s Hospital including a consolidated children’s intensive care unit, with the benefit of being co-located with maternity services on the Leicester Royal Infirmary site.

The standalone maternity unit at St Mary’s in Melton Mowbray will be relocated at a new standalone midwifery unit at Leicester General Hospital to improve access to this service for women across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and to ensure closer proximity to acute services for mums and babies in the event of an emergency. Responding to feedback received during the consultation, a partnership approach involving patients, clinicians and stakeholders will be developed to assess its long-term viability, phased over a number of years.

Implementation of the proposals will also be supported by significant ongoing improvement work in postnatal services, underpinned by the local work on the Better Births model. This will see more women in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland able to benefit from an expanded team of midwives who will provide continuity of care throughout pregnancy and provide postnatal and breastfeeding support in the community and in people’s own homes. These services will remain available to all women – including those from Melton.

All outpatient services will be moved from Leicester Royal Infirmary and Leicester General Hospital to a new purpose built treatment centre at Glenfield Hospital.

For certain aspects of planned care, the local NHS will make better use of technologies by offering appointments by telephone or video call where appropriate.

A new primary care urgent treatment centre will be created at Leicester General Hospital. Based on public feedback, there will be more scoping on proposals for developing services at the centre and further engagement with the public. Services could include observation facilities, a diagnostic service, GP access to imaging facilities, community outpatient services, and additional primary care services to provide family health care to people living in the east of the city.

Additionally, there will be two new haemodialysis treatment units; one at Glenfield Hospital and the second in a new unit to the south of Leicester. There will also be greater use of hydrotherapy pools located in the community.

Changes made to proposals as a result of the feedback will see the entire ophthalmology service maintained at Leicester Royal Infirmary for the provision of a safe service in close proximity of the Children’s Hospital; relocating the Brain Injury Unit from Leicester General Hospital to Glenfield Hospital instead of the Leicester Royal Infirmary, in order to provide more scope if there is an increase in demand; maintaining main plastic surgery outpatients and day case activity at Leicester Royal Infirmary to ensure alignment with other adult and paedriatric services; and reducing clinical risk and negative impact on the workforce by maintaining Ear, Nose and Throat Services at Leicester Royal Infirmary.

Strong views expressed around travel and access have been taken into consideration in the creation of a Travel Action Plan which will see ongoing engagement and improvements to travel and access across the three sites. There will also be an increase in public car parking at the Leicester Royal Infirmary and Glenfield Hospital sites.

The local NHS will continue its communication and engagement on the implementation of these decisions with patients, the public, staff and key stakeholder organisations particularly taking into account the findings of the Equality Impact Assessment.

Andy Williams, Chief Executive for .LLR CCGs said: “I’m delighted that our exciting proposals for Leicester’s hospitals and acute and maternity services can go ahead. These major transformation plans will enable Leicester’s hospitals to deliver high quality, sustainable care from modern, state-of-the-art facilities.

“We can now make our £450 million hospital plans a reality thanks to everyone who took part in the consultation. It’s very encouraging to know public support for the proposals generally has been very strong, demonstrating that most local people agree with and welcome the plans. They understand why change is necessary and can look forward to seeing major improvements in the facilities and services they and their families will be able to access in the future.  Public feedback has been invaluable in helping us to make the best possible decisions for the future of our hospitals.

“I am confident the agreed proposals will enable us to build hospitals and develop services to be proud of for many generations to come.”

Andrew Furlong, Medical Director at Leicester’s hospitals, said: “Today’s decision is a huge and welcome step forward on the journey to this once in a generation investment in local healthcare.

“I have lived and worked here for over 20 years and I’ve seen first-hand just how much we need to make changes to our hospitals. We have amazing staff, achieving amazing things, but in many cases in buildings and facilities that all too often let us down and with all the pressure that comes from staff and services being spread too thinly across three sites.

“These plans will change that, enabling us to offer significantly improved care and outcomes for our patients and helping us to better manage many of the challenges we face now and in the future.

“Knowing there is so much public support for our overall plans is fantastic and we’re grateful to everyone who took part in the consultation for sharing their views and feedback, which have helped us further shape the exciting future for patient care at our hospitals.”

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