People across Harborough are being given the chance to have their say on how a massive new £450 million boost is spent transforming crucial local hospitals.
A vast public consultation on the huge cash package to overhaul and update acute hospital and maternity services in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland has been launched today (Monday).
The ambitious Building Better Hospitals for the Future blueprint will spark vital changes in:
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- Improving patient care
- Achieving better patient outcomes
- Getting staff all working in the best place to make this happen.
The public exercise will run until Monday December 21.
It will focus on services delivered at the three main hospitals in Leicester, run by University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL) NHS Trust, as well as the midwifery-led unit at St Mary’s Hospital, Melton Mowbray.
And the enormous study is being backed by Cllr Phil Knowles, who leads the Liberal Democrat group on Harborough council.
Phil told the Harborough Mail: ''It’s very important that the wider community engages in this consultation.
“£450 million is a serious amount of money that can make a very significant difference and local people must make sure that their voice is heard.”
The veteran health campaigner said it took an astonishing three decades to secure and open St Luke’s Hospital on Leicester Road, Market Harborough.
“It took almost 30 years to win the new hospital facilities for Market Harborough.
“Now we have to address the next stages for serving the acute hospital and maternity service needs for the people of Harborough as well as people in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland,'' said Phil.
Health chiefs aim to provide 139 more hospital beds and change acute and maternity services by moving all acute care to Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI) and Glenfield Hospital.
Acute care includes patients receiving treatment for severe injury or illness, urgent medical conditions or during recovery from surgery.
A “major planned care treatment centre” is also set to go ahead at Glenfield Hospital.
This would separate operations and emergency procedures and “help stop urgent pressures leading to the cancellation of routine surgery”.
The treatment centre would cut the number of patients attending the LRI by over 500,000 a year.
The first dedicated single-site children’s hospital in the East Midlands, based at the LRI’s Kensington Building, is also set to be created.
And a new maternity hospital would also be developed on the site.
Meanwhile, two ‘super’ intensive care units boasting 100 beds - almost double the current number - would be set up at the LRI and Glenfield Hospital.
The investment would also see new welcome centres to help people find their way around the hospital sites, modernised wards, operating theatres and imaging facilities as well as extra car parking.
It is proposed that a new community health campus with non-acute services would be created at Leicester General Hospital in Evington.
The blueprint includes in-patient beds for people 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.
The midwifery-led unit at St Mary’s Hospital, Melton Mowbray, could also be moved to Leicester General Hospital to make it much more accessible.
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.”
He added: “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 through online events.
You can find the full consultation document and questionnaire survey by visiting this website: www.betterhospitalsleicester.nhs.uk