Approximately 1,350 staff work at Liverpool Women’s Hospital.
It is the staff that provide the care that is so overwhelmingly valued in Liverpool. The building is good but the services and ethos have been developed and protected by the staff. This is everyone from receptionist to consultant, midwives to neo-natal nurses, from cleaner to senior admin.
There are national regional and local issues affecting Liverpool Women’s Hospital, including shortages of qualified staff, inadequate funding across the NHS but especially for maternity, and reorganisation in the NHS upon reorganisation, most of it politically driven by those who favour privatisation.
As this is written leaks from the Sustainability and Transformation Plans propose unheard of cuts in provision. Suggestions include the idea of closing Arrow Park, Clatterbridge and the Countess of Chester Hospitals and merging all the Liverpool NHS hospitals. Some of these suggestions may be kite flying to see what response such suggestions gain. However the intention to reduce spending on the NHS and to facilitate still more for profit providers is absolutely plain
The proposals floated for the Liverpool Women’s Hospital for the hospital are not routine change and developmental change as they have been portrayed.
Staff are trained to look for normal change and to respond to abnormal and dangerous change. This is a dangerous and abnormal change
Nationally there is an acute shortage of midwives, of obstetrician, of pediatric nurses, and junior pediatricians. The age profile of midwives and of midwifery teachers and academics means shortages need urgent attention
“Quality of care was hampered (nationally, not at LWH, our edit) by a shortage of 25% to 30% of middle-grade maternity doctors, those who are halfway between being junior medics and consultants, he said. That had produced “a Rota gap problem nationally” which forced consultants to work extra hours to plug the gaps”. Dr David Richmond, president of the Royal College of obstetrician and Gynecologists (RCOG
Nationally Midwives’ and nurses’ bursaries have been cut and there are cuts to medical educators jobs. Many midwives could not have trained without the bursary. Now Student midwives will be PAYING the hospital to allow them to work .
The background is one of intensely hard conditions of work with nurses, doctors, midwives and related professions. all working under huge pressure throughout the NHS.
An NHS staff survey reveals that 50% of midwives in England suffered work-related stress during 2015. “. are shocking but not surprising, midwives, day in day out, face enormous pressure due to understaffing and an increased birth rate.” RCM https://www.midirs.org/about-midirs/
Cuts to funding for staffing
The back ground is also plans for major cuts in funds for staffing
“Hospitals are being told to shed staff to rescue the NHS from an acute funding crisis, leaving nurses and other front line medical workers at risk of the sack.
“NHS regulators have taken the controversial decision despite intense concern among hospital bosses and health unions that reducing staff will hit quality of care, patient safety and staff morale, while increasing waiting times.
Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority (TDA) have issued the instruction to reduce staffing almost three years after ministers ordered hospitals to do the opposite. They responded to the official report into the Mid Staffs care scandal by saying staffing levels must be increased in order to improve the standard of care…”
“NHS staffing levels must be cut if finances in the health service in England are to be controlled, a leading think tank has warned” https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/health-and-care/nhs/news/77174/nhs-staff-levels-must-be-cut-control-spending-health
The background is privatisation. Privatisation sheds all the safeguards we have come to expect in the NHS. Merseyside has been something of a pioneer in privatisations
- Privatisation is a threat to national conditions of service, to rates of pay and to the right of access to training
- Some private companies, who have dreadful records in other services, are granted contracts from the NHS
- Virgin as one of the companies involved in privatisation has an active legal section which enforces its position against local Clinical Commissioning Group decisions.
- Monitor has told seriously overspent trusts to ‘reduce their headcount’.
- Within the Liverpool Women’s Hospital many services have been outsourced to for profit contractors who work in the building, mainly doing ancillary work.
- There is more on privatisation in other parts of this document
- Liverpool Women’s Hospital received a poor score on the staff trust in management to listen and act upon their concerns
- Liverpool Women’s hospital is a resource we cannot afford to lose.
This attempted closure of the Women’s hospital is but one part of a very disturbing whole.
We will publish more on the Sustainability and Transformation Plans