Sharing services between hospitals

The NHS now has many specialised hospitals. On Merseyside, in the North West and nationally there are hospitals that provide specialist services and patients transfer between them. For example, the Walton Centre provides care and treatment for a range of conditions affecting the brain or spine, Broadgreen Hospital provides “the best cardio thoracic care” The Royal Liverpool provides trauma and orthopaedic. Clatterbridge traditionally supported cancer care.

Having  specialised Hospitals presumes patients will transfer between hospitals.

This sharing of resources seems sane and sensible.

There is a point though, when a specialised Accident and Emergency service an hour away is less use than a less specialised one nearer to the patient. This is equally true for maternity hospitals. Accessibility balances against specialism. There is a time limit on effective emergency intervention in childbirth.  Women are finding this across the country  when local maternity hospitals and units close.

However, this tension between accessibility and specialism has become knotted into the marketization and privatisation policies of recent governments. Each hospital has been expected to balance its own books and to be a separate entity.

Services such as blood and imaging can well be provided jointly by a group of hospitals, so long as there is a service adequate to the needs of all the hospitals involved. But this is complicated by commissioning and pricing policies. In reports on the Liverpool Women’s Hospital we are told that bloods and imaging are  a problem.

To what extent is the problem caused by the location and to what extent by delays within the Haem /Path service? Moving closer would not solve the problem if there is a problem in the service at the base hospital. (We care also for our families treated at Liverpool Royal, so this matters)

We have asked why is this a problem? If it is a matter of a service level agreement between the hospitals? If it is not, what is it? We have been assured that the service as it is, is safe and adequate

We believe this needs sorting out both for Liverpool Women’s and for the Royal Liverpool Hospital;

“• Haematology /Pathology are not available on the Liverpool Women’s site. The hospital uses services a mile away at the Royal.”

  • Complex Health Conditions – lack of diagnostics i.e. no CT scanner or MRI on Liverpool Women’s site.

 There are mobile CT and MRI scanners. It would be cheaper to rent those than to move a whole hospital. Permanent services should be added if required.

What is the turnaround time for diagnostics at the Royal? Would they improve with 50,000 or 62,000 more patients if the Liverpool Women’s moves there?

We are all in favour of increased resources where necessary. We are not in favour of breaking up a good hospital.


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