With many voices talking about our consultation, we want to make sure you have all the official facts, so you can form your own views about the proposals. You can read a summary below, with more detailed information further down the page.
False: The General Hospital is closing
- The General Hospital is not closing, though it will no longer provide ‘acute’ care. Some non-acute services will be retained and there will be an expansion of community health services there.
- Services would include:
- The diabetes centre of excellence.
- Imaging facilities including scans and x-rays to help diagnose patients’ conditions more quickly.
- Stroke recovery services with inpatient beds.
- Potential development of a primary care urgent treatment centre, observation facilities, community outpatient facilities for a range of mental and physical conditions and additional primary care services – with an opportunity for people to tell us what else they would like to see on the site.
- The midwifery-led unit in Melton Mowbray may be relocated to Leicester General Hospital as it is underused, with less than three births per week, despite efforts to promote it. This would make it more accessible for more women across LLR.
False: The proposals do not include enough beds
- By winter 2023/24 we estimate that we would need 300 extra beds if we did nothing differently. However, we are going to be doing things differently by improving how patients are cared for, how services are run and how long patients need to be in a bed for. As a result, over the course of our proposals, we will actually only need to increase the actual number of beds by 139 beds (approximately four wards). There will also have the flexibility to increase or decrease beds so our hospitals are no bigger than necessary.
- Having too many patients in beds is actually a sign that we are not doing enough to prevent patients from becoming unwell and not caring for them in the community. Therefore bed numbers is not the best way of assessing how good the proposals are.
- There has been drive to reduce the bed stay in acute hospitals by 30-40%; this has not been a cost saving exercise, clinical practice has changed. Modern medicine doesn’t necessarily mean bringing people into hospital, especially frail elderly people.
False: It would be better to spend the money on extra staff
- It is easier to attract and retain staff with modern, purpose-built buildings.
- By getting the right services in the right place, we will be able to make better use of our staff resources, rather than having to duplicate or sometimes triplicate staffing rotas across different sites.
False: The plans aren’t COVID proof
- Our proposals have been reviewed by a team of clinicians in light of the pandemic.
- This review confirmed these proposals are the right ones. Had these changes already been made, we would have had the capacity we needed and have been better able to staff our services so planned operations would not have needed to be cancelled.
- In our proposals, we would:
- create two ‘super’ ICUs at the Royal and Glenfield doubling our capacity to more than 100 ICU beds. Had these been in place by the time of the pandemic our response would have been very different - we would have had enough ICU capacity, with some to spare
- create a standalone children’s hospital at the Royal. Had the children’s hospital been built, we would have been able to continue with heart surgery during Covid-19 knowing that the children were safe in a standalone hospital with a totally separate ICU
- build a standalone treatment centre at the Glenfield - this will be to all intents and purposes a new hospital, alongside the existing hospital. If fulfils our desire to separate emergency and planned procedures. When we are busy with high numbers of emergencies, our planned care patients still receive care. Had this been in place by the time of the pandemic we would have been able to maintain significant amount of our non-emergency work and potentially create a ‘Covid-19 clean’ site
- no longer have to run triplicate rotas for staff. For example, with two super ICUs rather than the current three smaller ones, we would have been able to consolidate our staffing making it easier to cover absences when they occurred and perhaps even give staff the time to ‘decompress’ after repeat days of long and harrowing shifts.
False: Services from the General will be crammed onto the Royal and Glenfield sites, making congestion and parking worse
- Our proposals would mean more than 100,000 day case procedures and 600,000 follow-up appointments each year would be done differently – for example by moving appointments to the new Treatment Centre on the Glenfield site, as well as delivering more appointments remotely, via phone and internet, and in the community. Combined, this will make access and parking much easier.
- Additional car parking would be added at the Leicester Royal Infirmary and Glenfield sites
False: The unused land at the General will be sold off to fund the development
- Our proposals have received a commitment of £450 million funding from the Government in principle – subject to the outcome of this consultation.
- Vacated land and buildings at Leicester General Hospital would be freed up and sold for affordable housing developments.
- Money from the sale of the land and buildings would be reinvested into the hospitals
- Land will only be disposed of when it has been declared surplus and is planned through a comprehensive estates strategy.
- The Trust has 33 acres of developable land at the Glenfield Hospital should it be needed in the future
False: It isn’t a meaningful consultation during the pandemic
- In order to achieve the service change desired, we have a legal obligation to consult on the proposals. Furthermore, we know that public consultation will only improve the proposals being put forward. The longer we continue to deliver services in the way we are today, the more costly it becomes and the longer the current shortcomings in our current service model are maintained. Transforming services according to these proposals will result in a more cost-efficient and effective local health service.
- In preparation our Communications and Engagement Plan has been revised and acknowledges that the consultation will be carried out during a period of significant change in the NHS. People are all learning to live in a world where Covid-19 is impacting on our day-to-day lives and as such our plan identifies activities showing less reliance on face-to-face communications and looks at more innovative methods to engage using our partnerships and digital capabilities.
- In reaching the decision on taking forward the consultation, and the techniques and activities for involvement to be used, we sought advice from our legal advisers. We also sought advice from our external Equality and Diversity team through Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit (CSU), who reviewed the plan and strengthened our approach to address inequalities in our involvement. The plan has also been reviewed by the Regional Communications and Engagement Team at NHS England.
- The COVID-19 pandemic means that we need to consult in different ways with a much greater reliance on technology than we would have done previously. We recognize and understand how important it is that people who haven't got access to the internet are also able to take part.
- There has been an emphasis on online including social media as well as advertising in print and on radio, along with provision of information in community locations, to reach people who may not be as digitally enabled.
- We are also ensuring information is available in as many community venues as possible that people are able to access and advertising in local newspapers and on TV.
- Similarly, we are working with the voluntary and community sector and faith leaders, recognising the important role that they play in liaising with their local communities to make sure as many people as possible are able to take part in the consultation process and in a range of ways.
False: Moving St Mary’s midwifery-led unit to the General Hospital will make it difficult to get to
- Moving the midwifery-led unit to the General means even more local women will be able to benefit from the care and support it provides, not just women in the immediate vicinity of Melton.
- The decision is subject to the outcome of the consultation.
False: Postnatal care will suffer in Melton as a result of the maternity proposals
Under the proposals, more women in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland will benefit from an expanded team of midwives who will provide continuity of care throughout their pregnancy and provide postnatal and breastfeeding support in the community and in people’s own homes.
False: The decisions have already been made so it doesn’t matter what anyone says
- We are consulting on a proposal to transform acute and maternity services in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. We genuinely want to hear people’s views on these proposals and the impact of the changes on people, their family and loved ones. We have funding lined up from the Government in principle so that they can see our ideas are affordable and realistic.
- All views obtained through consultation will be considered within the context of the proposal. At the end of consultation we will be developing a decision making business case which will articulate how we have taken account of the public’s views. It is really important to us that our plans reflect the needs of the local population, while taking account of the health economy.
False: The changes are all about cutting costs
- These proposals are driven by a desire to offer really great environments for care and clinical services with a quality element which is important. The financial issue is important to make sure we get best value from the resource investment, but it's not driven by desire to save money. The main driver is high quality sustainable services.
False: Maternity care will be less safe having everything in one place at the Leicester Royal Infirmary
- Our proposals include creating a new dedicated maternity hospital at the Leicester Royal Infirmary providing a safe and sustainable environment for maternity and neonatal services with more personalised care provided by a named midwife, alongside a dedicated children’s hospital
- The maternity hospital would increase choice for all women in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland so they can receive all the nationally recommended birth options:
- Obstetric/doctor-led care for more complex pregnancies with neonatal services and postnatal beds, should they be needed
- An alongside birthing unit for midwife-led care, with emergency assistance close at hand
- A midwifery-led unit
- Home births