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Open letter from Chief Executive, Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust


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Our patients demand the best care and deserve the best care.

In the 70th birthday year of the NHS, we can be proud that our hospital’s 3,000 staff strive each day to do their best for patients and deliver on the ideals of the service’s founders.

In my short three months as chief executive, I have been delighted by their commitment to improving the quality of service and the experience we offer patients.

It has been supported by bricks and mortar investment of £1.25m and measurable improvements to how we move patients more effectively through the hospital from admission to going home.

But that dedicated, daily team effort can’t hide the fact that – even though many of us live healthier lives than ever before – we are seeing more and more people needing urgent care.

That’s because of a huge change our community is under-going. In 1996, 14% of people in West Lancashire were aged 65 and over – by 2036 it is expected to be 28%. In Sefton, the change is even more dramatic. People over 65 are projected to number 30% of the population compared with 18% 40 years earlier.

Getting older means some people need more frequent care, especially those with long-term conditions like breathing difficulties or diseases more common in old age like dementia.

Care also too often means a hospital admission and into buildings planned in the 1980 not fit for the needs of today’s mainly older, frailer patients.

That’s why the Trust’s Board members support senior nurses and doctors’ view that our services need to change to make sure care continues to improve for the better and is fit for the future.

The improvements we’ve seen at our hospitals this year are part of Care for You, the programme I lead to transform our hospital services in Southport, Formby and West Lancashire.

Working with clinical colleagues from our local community, our doctors, nurses and therapists are using their professional knowledge and experience to explore how hospital care might look in the future.

At the heart of their thinking is what’s best and safest for patients.

We’re also working closely with NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS West Lancashire CCG and other local health and social care providers.

Currently our senior doctors, nurses and other NHS professionals are looking at different ways in which we can improve our services and how we might run them in the future. No decisions have been made, beyond the fact that we need to further invest in both our hospital sites at Southport and Ormskirk. How services could be organised in the future range from keeping services as they are, redeveloping and improving the hospital sites at both Southport and Ormskirk through to making the case for a new hospital.

Our initial thoughts will be submitted later this month to the Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership in the form of a Service Change Proposal. The Trust and its partners will then move on to fleshing out clinical scenarios for a future hospital service.

I must stress we are only at the very beginning of this process. Nothing has been decided.

Over the coming months, we will be asking people across our community and beyond for their opinions.

If a proposal is agreed, it must have a strong clinical evidence base and further shaped through appropriate and timely public engagement and consultation.

I have a huge ambition for hospital services in Southport, Formby and West Lancashire. I want to see patient care transformed, making it fit not just for the foreseeable future but for decades ahead.

With Care for You, we have a once in a generation opportunity to create hospitals that are a beacon of innovative, modern care and properly meets the needs of our fast-changing population.

As our plans take shape, I look forward to hearing your views and opinions in the months ahead.

Yours sincerely

Silas Nicholls

Chief Executive

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