Transformation plans to improve Leicester’s hospitals’ acute hospital and maternity services have been given the go-ahead.
Supported by £450 million, the decision to proceed was given on 8 June, made at an Extraordinary Governing Body meeting, hosted by Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Groups (LLR CCGs) following a three-month public consultation last year.
In total there were 5,675 responses to the consultation, which reached out to more than 1.8 million people, providing an opportunity to the LLR population to engage in discussions and provide their opinions on the proposals.
A Decision Making Business Case (DMBC) was presented and discussed at the meeting, setting out how the CCGs and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) responded to the consultation feedback.
58 per cent of those who responded to the survey agreed with the proposal to consolidate services at the Leicester Royal Infirmary and Glenfield Hospital, with a minority 28 per cent disagreeing.
60 per cent agreed with the proposal to create a new treatment centre and 25% disagreed; 64 per cent expressed that they liked the proposal of using increased use of technology; 67 per cent also liked the idea of a primary care centre at the Leicester General Hospital and a majority 77 per cent were in support of a new Children’s hospital with 8 per cent opposing the proposal.
The Leicester Royal Infirmary will become host to a new maternity hospital, also providing a midwifery-led birth centre alongside the obstetric unit. Existing maternity services (services provided in pregnancy, childbirth and post-pregnancy) and neonatal services will be moved from Leicester General Hospital to Leicester Royal Infirmary and breastfeeding services will be enhanced for mothers by providing post-natal breastfeeding drop-in sessions alongside peer support.
The Leicester Royal Infirmary will also see the creation of a new Children’s Hospital including a consolidated children’s intensive care unit, with the benefit of being co-located with maternity services on the Leicester Royal Infirmary site.
The standalone maternity unit at St Mary’s in Melton Mowbray will be relocated at a new standalone midwifery unit at Leicester General Hospital to improve access to this service for women across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and to ensure closer proximity to acute services for mums and babies in the event of an emergency. Responding to feedback received during the consultation, a partnership approach involving patients, clinicians and stakeholders will be developed to assess its long-term viability, phased over a number of years.
Implementation of the proposals will also be supported by significant ongoing improvement work in postnatal services, underpinned by the local work on the Better Births model.
A new primary care urgent treatment centre will be created at Leicester General Hospital. Services could include observation facilities, a diagnostic service, GP access to imaging facilities, community outpatient services, and additional primary care services to provide family health care to people living in the east of the city.
Andy Williams, Chief Executive for LLR CCGs said: “I’m delighted that our exciting proposals for Leicester’s hospitals and acute and maternity services can go ahead. These major transformation plans will enable Leicester’s hospitals to deliver high quality, sustainable care from modern, state-of-the-art facilities.
“We can now make our £450 million hospital plans a reality thanks to everyone who took part in the consultation. It’s very encouraging to know public support for the proposals generally has been very strong, demonstrating that most local people agree with and welcome the plans. They understand why change is necessary and can look forward to seeing major improvements in the facilities and services they and their families will be able to access in the future. Public feedback has been invaluable in helping us to make the best possible decisions for the future of our hospitals.
“I am confident the agreed proposals will enable us to build hospitals and develop services to be proud of for many generations to come.”