The Buildings and Site of Liverpool Women’s Hospital, and why they matter.



The Liverpool Women’s Hospital building is owned by the Trust. It is an attractive, valuable and useful building and, crucially, not an expensive PFI building. The site of the Liverpool Women’s Hospital is on a long lease, we believe from the city and the cathedral.

It a good site, with restful landscaping, far, far better than a high rise block in the middle of a major traffic system.

We are not being sentimental in praising its grounds. According to a study in the journal Science 1984 April 27;224(4647)420-1 View Through a Window may influence Recovery from Surgery Ulrich RS;

“All other things being equal, patients with bedside windows looking out on leafy trees healed, on average, a day faster, needed significantly less pain medication and had fewer postsurgical complications than patients who instead saw a brick wall.”

“Trees and bushes are good for physical and mental health. A large beech tree can provide enough oxygen for the daily requirements of ten people, and catches dust and pollutants on its leaves. Trees have a positive impact on the incidence of asthma, skin cancer and stress-related illness by filtering out polluted air; they also reduce smog formation and shade out solar radiation.” (According to Trees for cities)


Records on recovery after cholecystectomy of patients in a suburban Pennsylvania hospital between 1972 and 1981 were examined to determine whether assignment to a room with a window view of a natural setting might have restorative influences. Twenty-three surgical patients assigned to rooms with windows looking out on a natural scene had shorter postoperative hospital stays, received fewer negative evaluative comments in nurses’ notes, and took fewer potent analgesics than 23 matched patients in similar rooms with windows facing a brick building wall.

Similar studies can be found here

A set of rooms in a high rise block does not match the health benefits of Liverpool Women’s hospital site.

A high rise block with all the traffic and pollution that currently surrounds the area around the new Liverpool Royal site is bad enough, but   moving the Liverpool Women’s Hospital there will add 60,000 extra patients, increasing traffic significantly and increasing the pollutants caused by traffic.

The area has the heavy but relatively free flowing traffic on Low Hill and the often standing traffic on Prescott Street, featuring the busses coming to the hospital and on into town. Busses also use Pembroke Place and West Derby Place.  Air quality and traffic based pollution are significant problems. We need an environmental impact assessment.

WE quote below Liverpool studies of the damage to babies from traffic pollution. The new Royal, the site proposed in some discussions for the Maternity service is in one of Liverpool traffic hot spots.

Babies and children are vulnerable to traffic pollution

” The intrauterine, perinatal and early childhood periods, during which the lungs are developing and maturing, are very vulnerable times. These are periods when the lungs are susceptible to injury by air pollutants.

There is now substantial evidence on the adverse effects of air pollution on different pregnancy outcomes and infant health. The evidence shows that air pollution, with concentrations typical of many European cities, increases the risk of death from respiratory causes in the post neonatal period.

The evidence also shows a relationship between exposure to ambient air pollutants and adverse effects on the development of lung function. Reversible lung function deficits, chronically reduced lung growth rates and lower lung function levels are associated with exposure to air pollution. Moreover, the evidence shows clearer relationships for particulate matter and traffic-related air pollution (indicated by nitrogen dioxide) than for other pollutants. Based on current knowledge, air pollutants seem to interact with other environmental factors, such as allergens, viruses and diet, that influence the overall impact of air pollutants on children’s health


Air quality is recognised as the UK’s second biggest public health concern after smoking, with the Environmental Audit Commission estimating it annually costs the nation £20bn and can cut life expectancy by years (Henderson, 2012). A Defra briefing paper summarised the health impacts of poor air quality in the UK as follows:

 The burden of particulate air pollution in the UK in 2008 was estimated to be equivalent to nearly 29,000 deaths at typical ages and an associated loss of population life of 340,000 life years lost.

  It has been estimated that removing all fine particulate air pollution would have a bigger impact on life expectancy in England and Wales than eliminating passive smoking or road traffic accidents.  The economic cost from the impacts of air pollution in the UK is estimated at £9-19 billion every year. This is comparable to the economic cost of obesity (over £10 billion)

Local interventions to tackle outdoor air pollution  with demonstrable impacts on health and health service use. LPHO Report Series, number 101 Rapid Evidence Review Series, number 4 Produced on behalf of the Merseyside Directors of Public Health

January 2015


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