Public to have their say on multi-million pound proposals to improve hospitals (28/09/20)

Image showing an artist's impression of new buildings proposed for Leicester's Hospitals

A public consultation on proposals to spend £450 million transforming acute hospital and maternity services in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland has begun today (28/09/20).

The Building Better Hospitals for the Future proposals are set to deliver a number of significant changes in improving patient care, achieving better patient outcomes, and getting staff all working in the best place to make this happen. 

The public consultation, which runs from today until 21 December 2020, concerns the services delivered at the three main hospitals in Leicester, run by University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL) NHS Trust, as well as services delivered at the midwifery-led unit at St Mary’s Hospital, Melton Mowbray.

The proposals would provide 139 more hospital beds and change acute and maternity services by moving all acute care to the Leicester Royal Infirmary (in the city centre) and to Glenfield Hospital (on the outskirts of Leicester on Groby Road). Acute care includes patients receiving treatment for severe injury or illness, urgent medical conditions, or during recovery from surgery.

Among the new developments, this huge investment would see the creation of a major planned care treatment centre at the Glenfield Hospital. This would separate planned operations and emergency procedures and help stop urgent pressures leading to the cancellation of routine surgery.

The treatment centre, along with the delivery of more outpatient appointments virtually or closer to where patients live in the community, would reduce the number of patients attending the Leicester Royal Infirmary site by more than half a million per year – reducing city centre traffic and creating space for other exciting developments.

These proposed developments would see the creation of the first dedicated single-site children’s hospital in the East Midlands, based in the Kensington Building. It would also see a new maternity hospital developed on the site.

Meanwhile, two ‘super’ intensive care units with 100 beds in total (almost double the current number) would be developed at the Leicester Royal Infirmary and Glenfield Hospital. The investment would also see the creation of welcome centres to help people find their way around the hospital sites, modernised wards, operating theatres and imaging facilities, and additional car parking.

It is proposed that a new community health campus with non-acute services would be created on the site of Leicester General Hospital, in Evington (east of Leicester city centre on Gwendolen Road). The proposals include in-patient beds for patients recovering from a stroke, new GP direct access imaging facilities such as x-rays and scans to help diagnose patients’ conditions quicker, and the retention of the existing diabetes centre of excellence.

The proposals may also see a new primary care urgent treatment centre, observation facilities, community outpatient facilities for a range of mental and physical conditions, and additional primary care services.

In addition, the proposals include potentially relocating the midwifery-led unit at St Mary’s Hospital, Melton Mowbray to the Leicester General Hospital campus – ensuring that the service is accessible to many more women living across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, while also enabling them to be closer to specialist medical support should they need it. The existing unit is under-used, with less than three births per week, despite efforts to promote it.

The consultation will also consider greater use of hydrotherapy pools in the community, replacing use of the hydrotherapy pool at Leicester General Hospital. 

Andrew Furlong, Medical Director, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust said: 

“Every day in our hospitals we achieve amazing things and our staff go above and beyond to deliver great care. But the way our hospitals are set up is a matter of history rather than design. We have old buildings, with services spread too thinly across three sites and in ways that make delivering care very challenging. We also have growing demand for all our services and it’s clear we need to do things differently. 

“These proposals will help us to offer the highest quality, state-of-the art healthcare services that patients deserve, and fit for future generations. Importantly, these changes would enable us to separate emergency care from the care arranged in advance for our patients, helping to prevent treatment being delayed or cancelled when emergency services are busy. Our recent experience of responding to the Covid-19 pandemic has shown us just how important these proposed changes are – we’ve coped well but would have coped better if the changes we are proposing had already been made.”

Caroline Trevithick, Executive Director of Nursing, Quality and Performance for the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland clinical commissioning groups, said: 

“We would encourage everyone – members of the public, patients, carers, staff, public and patient representative groups, and anyone with an interest in the health and care of local people – to find out more about the proposals and complete the consultation questionnaire.”

The consultation is being run by the three NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland – Leicester City CCG, West Leicestershire CCG, and East Leicestershire and Rutland CCG.

There are a number of ways in which people can find out more and have their say, including a number of online events. The full consultation document and questionnaire survey are available on the website: www.betterhospitalsleicester.nhs.uk

Versions of the consultation document can be made available in other languages, and are in easy read, video and large print. Further information about the proposals and how to comment can also be obtained by telephoning 0116 295 0750 or emailing beinvolved@LeicesterCityCCG.nhs.uk