Case for Change (published July 2021)

Section 11: Conclusion

This document has outlined a Case for Change for investment in our hospital infrastructure that is unequivocal. The evidence and data presented, along with feedback from patients, clinicians and the staff within our Trusts and wider NHS locally clearly underlines that the existing hospital buildings at Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Royal Preston Hospital cannot continue in their current form. Without investment, these buildings and services will continue to deteriorate, deepening health inequalities and increasing the burden of ill-health on our population as we seek to build-back after Covid-19.

The changing requirements and health profiles of our population, along with the need and moral imperative to meet national standards in patient treatment, outcomes and care, mean that our current hospital buildings are unsustainable. In addition to the challenges they create today, they will pose an increasing risk as their conditions deteriorate further and healthcare pressures continue to increase.

We require investment in new hospital infrastructure that will allow us to not only meet but aspire to exceed these standards. Our staff and patients deserve hospital facilities that can host the very best in modern healthcare treatments, delivered in an environment that offers care, dignity and privacy. This should be a fundamental tenet of our hospitals rather than an unachievable goal while working within the buildings we currently have.

We have outlined our ambition to make Lancashire and South Cumbria a world-leading centre of excellence for hospital care. We want to build hospital facilities that attract the best clinical, medical and leadership staff and investment in research and development. We want to explore the potential to give our patients more choice of specialised services closer to home. This is an opportunity to transform healthcare in our region, enabling our local NHS to rise to the significant physical and mental health challenges that we will face, post- pandemic, for the next generation.

The Government has made clear its commitment to addressing key areas of backlog, including cancer care and waiting lists. Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership shares this commitment. Our local NHS aspires not only to be able to keep pace with post-pandemic requirements, but to become a national exemplar for delivering on these as part of the fundamental levelling up that our regions – and in particular those within the North – must drive in order to attract investment, reduce inequalities and create a level playing field for communities across the UK. Investment in new hospital facilities will be a critical enabler for that.

The impact of new hospital funding will reach beyond healthcare alone. As anchor institutions within our region, our hospitals provide healthcare to 1.8m people and employment to 40,000. With the right levels of investment, we can become a catalyst for and driver of positive change.

Our staff, patients and local communities are amazing. We want to build the hospital facilities that they and future generations deserve.

Next steps in the process

We want to hear your views on this document and its contents. Whether you agree or disagree with our Case for Change. What do you feel is strong, wrong or missing?

As we reflect on your feedback, the New Hospitals Programme team will work with clinical and health system leaders to construct a longlist of solutions, which we will publish. Simultaneously, we will seek the opinions of our staff, patients and representatives of the public on the criteria by which we intend to shortlist these possible solutions.

Once developed, the shortlist of proposals will then be assessed, with only potentially viable option(s) taken forward. These proposals may require a public consultation.

Throughout this process, we are seeking the views of those who may be most impacted by any possible change. This includes our staff and stakeholders who will be given the opportunity to contribute through the Big Chat (online workshop) and in person at events and meetings. We will supplement this work with public opinion research and focus groups. Patients and service users will be central to the development of our proposals. Their views will be sought directly and through workshops run independently by Healthwatch Together and local voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise sector organisations (VCFSE).

This document marks the beginning of our journey. We will continue to develop and shape our Case for Change and subsequent proposals as emerging evidence becomes available and as we gather more insight and feedback from our patients, clinicians, staff and key stakeholders.

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