Summary version of our Case for Change (published July 2021)

Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership

Directly supporting the Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership strategy

Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership (our region’s integrated care system) is committed to improving health and wellbeing and delivering better care for all. To achieve this, the integrated care system ‘Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria’ strategy (opens in new window)  has outlined the ambition that local people will:

  • Have longer, healthier lives
  • Be more active in managing their own health and wellbeing to maintain their physical independence for longer
  • Be supported to keep well both physically and mentally
  • Be central to decision making
  • Have consistent, high quality services across Lancashire and South Cumbria
  • Have joined up services and support, which are easier to navigate and access
  • Have services and support that are responsive to local need
  • Have equal access to the most effective support with reduced waiting times.

New hospital facilities will support the delivery of these goals. Although it will take up to 2030 to plan and build new hospital facilities, we believe that the prospect of better, more agile hospital facilities, designed to accommodate the region’s changing population demographics and health needs, will support the delivery of these goals in the short term by increasing staff morale, recruitment and retention.

Demographic demands and trends

Lancashire and South Cumbria’s hospitals serve a population of 1.8m across a diverse range of communities. Our region faces unprecedented challenges in caring for our population:

  • Ageing population: the number of people over 65 is projected to increase by 22% by 2030. Looking after our older population is fundamental in terms of cost: rising numbers will create a significant proportional impact on operational and financial pressures.

  • Life expectancy: people in Lancaster, Preston and Barrow-in-Furness all have lower average life expectancy than the England average. Access to top quality acute hospital facilities can have a dramatic impact on length and quality of life (opens in new window).

  • Our diverse communities: our ethnic minority population is rising and is of significance in terms of health service provision. Ethnic minority groups are more likely to report ill-health and experience ill- health earlier and have more requirements for specialised care.

  • Deep socioeconomic challenges and associated health issues: more people experience mental and physical ill-health in our region than in the rest of England, and more people than average face deep socioeconomic challenges.

  • Health outcomes: health outcomes in Lancashire and South Cumbria are significantly worse than the national average, with unexplained variation in outcomes for people with conditions such as cancer, coronary heart disease and mental health.

  • Increasing demand: demand for our hospital services is increasing and our region’s hospitals are already constrained. Advances in medical technology and practice mean that more children are surviving with conditions that would not have been viable a few years ago.

Implications for our hospitals

The Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Royal Preston Hospital buildings were not designed to care for patients with complex co-morbidities. The age, condition and poor functional content of these facilities mean that we cannot respond even to existing pressures on demand.

Investment in modern, flexible and adaptable infrastructure that will be able to accommodate future demand and enable the transformation of services is required urgently.

"The recent pandemic has taught us key things about our estate, including flexibility. Whatever the solution, we must build in the ability to be flexible at the point of care.”

Picture of a corridor in Royal Preston Hospital
Royal Preston Hospital


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