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Frequently asked questions about the New Hospitals Programme

Find out more about the Lancashire and South Cumbria New Hospitals Programme. 

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The Lancashire and South Cumbria New Hospitals Programme offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to develop new, cutting-edge hospital facilities that offer the absolute best in modern healthcare. We need to address significant problems with our ageing hospitals in Preston (Royal Preston Hospital) and Lancaster (Royal Lancaster Infirmary). We also need to invest in Furness General Hospital’s infrastructure in the context of its strategic importance and geographically remote location.

The Lancashire and South Cumbria New Hospitals Programme is part of the Government’s commitment to build 40 new hospitals by 2030. Together with eight existing schemes, this will mean 48 hospitals built in England over the next decade, the biggest hospital building programme in a generation. Find out more on the ‘Our NHS buildings’ website (opens in new window).

The Lancashire and South Cumbria New Hospitals Programme is led by Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, working with other health organisations across Lancashire and South Cumbria. For more information about our partners and our team, please visit the ‘About Us’ page on our website.

We have now published a shortlist of proposals for new hospital facilities in the region, each designed to address the issues highlighted in our Case for Change report. Read more in our media release announcing the shortlist of proposals.

The shortlisted proposals are:

  1. A new Royal Lancaster Infirmary on a new site, with partial rebuild / refurbishment of Royal Preston Hospital
  2. A new Royal Preston Hospital on a new site, with partial rebuild / refurbishment of Royal Lancaster Infirmary
  3. Investment at both Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Royal Preston Hospital, allowing partial rebuilding work on both existing sites
  4. Two new hospitals to replace Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Royal Preston Hospital (new sites).

These proposals also include investment in Furness General Hospital, required due to its geographically remote location, its proximity to some of the UK’s major strategic national assets, and its need to meet NHS environmental goals.

In line with NHS guidelines, the shortlisted proposals will be benchmarked against options for no change to, and / or limited investment in, Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Royal Preston Hospital to address the list of tasks that need to be performed to repair or maintain the buildings and keep them in a suitable working condition.

Further information can be found in our press release announcing the shortlist of proposals.

All potential options for new hospitals were appraised against a set of Critical Success Factors to decide whether they should be progressed to the shortlist stage. Only the options that met the Critical Success Factors, including ability to improve services and health outcomes for patients, achievability, ability to address health inequalities, affordability and value for money, were shortlisted. All those discounted from the shortlist did not meet the Critical Success Factors.

Options that have been discounted from the shortlist after detailed consideration are as follows: a single new hospital on a new central site to replace both Royal Preston Hospital and Royal Lancaster Infirmary (with some local services to be retained in a new integrated community centres in Preston and Lancaster); a new Royal Lancaster Infirmary on the existing site, with partial rebuild / refurbishment of Royal Preston Hospital; and a new Royal Preston Hospital on the existing site, with partial rebuild / refurbishment of Royal Lancaster Infirmary; a new Royal Preston Hospital built on a new site, with the existing Royal Preston Hospital site retained for some services and partial rebuild of Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

The shortlist was agreed by senior leaders from across the Lancashire and South Cumbria healthcare system following a formal workshop attended by clinicians, patient representatives, hospital construction, financial and logistics specialists, local NHS leaders and stakeholders. It was endorsed by the Lancashire and South Cumbria Strategic Commissioning Committee on 10 March 2022. The shortlisted proposals also reflect extensive feedback gathered from more than 12,000 local people, patients, NHS staff, community representatives and stakeholders over the last year, using online workshops and surveys, public opinion research, focus groups, and in-person events and meetings.

First, we held a formal workshop attended by clinicians, patient representatives, hospital construction, financial and logistics specialists, local NHS leaders and stakeholders. During this workshop, each of the proposals included on the previous longlist of proposals was appraised against an agreed set of ‘Critical Success Factors’ or selection criteria. This workshop ensured that key stakeholders were engaged in decision making and had the opportunity to challenge and assist to shape the direction of new hospital facilities.

This workshop produced a recommended shortlist of proposals, which was then discussed and agreed in a meeting with senior health leaders from across Lancashire and South Cumbria. On 10 March 2022, the shortlist of proposals for new hospital facilities was endorsed by the Lancashire and South Cumbria Strategic Commissioning Committee (SCC).

The shortlisted proposals also reflect extensive feedback gathered from more than 12,000 local people, patients, NHS staff, community representatives and stakeholders over the last year, using online workshops and surveys, public opinion research, focus groups, and in-person events and meetings.

Each of the potential options for new hospital facilities was appraised against the following set of critical success factors (selection criteria) to help assess whether they should be progressed to shortlist stage:

Does the option:

  1. Provide patients with high-quality, next generation hospital facilities that will improve health outcomes across our population?
  2. Improve service delivery and provide access to cutting-edge hospital technologies and deliver the best possible quality of care?
  3. Meet demand needs of the health population and is it flexible and sustainable?
  4. Increase resource capacity and effectiveness, working collaboratively to increase integration in service delivery?
  5. Address health inequalities and meet the health needs of the people of Lancashire and South Cumbria now and in the future?
  6. Deliver value for money i.e. economic, social and environmental?

 

Is the option:

  1. Deliverable by potential suppliers i.e. does the construction market have capacity to deliver and do market participants have the necessary capability and experience?
  2. Potentially affordable i.e. does it make best use of financial resources; does it provide more operationally efficient estate?
  3. Potentially achievable i.e. is it deliverable within the land area available; is it likely to achieve planning approval; will it minimise disruption to services?

We are still at an early stage in proposals development and will be working closely with clinicians, patients and national bodies on how services will be provided. The current work has been based on the same services being delivered in the new hospital facilities. We are also working with experts to explore how digital technologies, new medical treatments and hospital design (for example, single occupancy rooms) might affect how you receive your care. Accessibility will be a key consideration in developing proposals for new hospitals on new sites.

Whilst bed numbers will depend on a number of factors, including provision of care in and closer to home, individual room provision etc., we are currently planning to have similar bed numbers to what we have today.

The New Hospitals Programme has not included any proposed changes for maternity services. However across Lancashire and South Cumbria, the NHS is currently implementing improvements in maternity services in-line with the recommendations from the recent Ockenden report.

The New Hospitals Programme is working closely with Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust to ensure the new facilities improve on the integration of physical and mental health services. For example, co-locating emergency mental health services close to A&E.

We don’t yet know where any new buildings on new sites would be located. Part of the next phase of work is to further check feasibility of the various options, including availability and cost of land and likelihood of gaining planning permissions. We will have a clearer idea of whether and where new buildings on new sites would be possible after this work has been completed.

As outlined in the Case for Change report, the NHS in our region has prioritised the need to address significant issues with our ageing hospitals in Preston and Lancaster. There’s also a need for investment in Furness General Hospital in the context of its strategic importance and geographically remote location. The Chorley and South Ribble Hospital and Westmorland General Hospital sites are more modern, with fewer backlog maintenance challenges. Where investment is needed at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital or Westmorland General Hospital, the hospital Trusts will continue to support this as part of their core budgets.

At this stage, no final decisions have been made. We have published a shortlist of proposals, each of which could address the issues explained in our Case for Change.

The next stage in decision making is to carry out detailed analysis of each shortlisted option’s feasibility, with scrutiny and approvals needed from decision makers within the NHS, the government and local authorities, and ongoing patient and public involvement, before the preferred option or options is / are agreed. Feedback from local people, patients and staff will continue to be an essential part of the process in narrowing down these options over the coming months.

The programme aims to complete the building of new hospital facilities by 2030.

Our proposals will be led by the needs of our patients, staff and local people. Getting feedback from those who may be most impacted by any possible change – including our NHS staff, patients and representatives of the public – is a fundamental part of our process in developing proposals.

The shortlisted proposals reflect extensive feedback gathered from more than 12,000 local people, patients, NHS staff, community representatives and stakeholders over the last year, using online workshops and surveys, public opinion research, focus groups, and in-person events and meetings. We are now asking local people to tell us their views on the shortlisted proposals. Find out more and fill out our online survey in our get involved section.

There is significant learning from the Covid-19 pandemic that we are building in our plans for the new facilities. The most notable is a commitment to make at least 70% of all rooms single occupancy, with en-suite facilities. There are many other lessons learnt that we hope to include regarding reducing the risks of infection, improving the co-location of services, and increasing the choice and availability of care at home.

All hospitals in our region have standard NHS funding for regular maintenance and repairs. This is a part of core Trust budgets and is not part of the New Hospitals Programme.

The funding for the New Hospitals Programme has been granted to address the condition of Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Royal Preston Hospital, which have reached a critical stage. We also need to invest in Furness General Hospital’s infrastructure, in the context of its strategic importance and geographically remote location.

Investing in these hospitals will positively impact health services across our entire region and help deliver on our ambition to make our regional health system one of the best in the world.

Being able to recruit and retain staff is one of the major reasons we need investment in new hospital facilities and is an important part of our Case for Change – better hospital facilities will allow us to more easily attract and keep staff.

Our hospitals employ 40,000 staff across the region, but find it difficult to find enough skilled staff to operate effectively. This places pressure on our already very hardworking staff and leaves many hospital services heavily reliant on costly agency staff.

This is now a significant – and increasing – issue for both our ability to operate, and our sustainability as a health service within the region.

Our staff tell us they want a working environment that supports their wellbeing, and where they can treat and care for patients with the space and facilities they need to perform their roles to the standard that they and patients expect. We also need hospitals that allow us to stay at the forefront of research and education, and attract the best clinical experts.

Local people’s ability to access the care they need is an absolute priority. We believe that better, more efficient hospital facilities will reduce waiting lists and hospital stay times. We also want to use digital technology to create a network of services for local people, meaning hospitals can work together more effectively, and patients can access pioneering treatment either in person or remotely, closer to home.

Yes – delivering on our net zero carbon obligations and the Greener NHS programme (opens in new window) will be a key consideration of our proposals and of new hospital facilities designs, in line with national NHS priorities. Our hospital investment plans will be designed with sustainability at their centre, minimising our environmental footprint as part of the NHS’s zero carbon goal.

Absolutely. This is a major priority for us in developing our solutions and designing new facilities. We will look at the experience that patients, families and carers have when they visit our hospitals and our proposals will be informed by the views and feedback of local people, staff and patients.

We want to offer privacy and dignity through more single rooms, create the space for our staff to care for patients in the way they would like, and build more dedicated relaxation spaces for our staff, families and visitors to our hospitals.

We will also help people avoid the need to go to hospital altogether by offering complex care closer to home, improving community health and wellbeing services and overall experience for local people.

Providing exceptional patient care is always our number one priority. At each stage of the programme, we will work to ensure that everyone can continue to access the hospital care they need.

Improving access to hospital services is one of the big drivers behind the programme. We aim to expand the range of medical procedures and therapies available to you in our region, which will mean less need to travel further afield.

In line with the Government’s commitment to continuous quality improvement in hospitals, we will also create new, cutting-edge facilities that feature the latest digital technologies. These will provide patients with access to pioneering treatment either in person or remotely, closer to home where possible.

All funding for the New Hospitals Programme will be provided by the Government. As part of its commitment to fund NHS service improvements, the Government has given us the opportunity to secure a significant financial investment for our region to do something amazing.

With this funding for our local NHS hospital facilities, we want to make Lancashire and South Cumbria a world-leading centre of excellence for hospital care, and extensive research completed by the New Hospitals Programme will help to inform the best solutions which will result in better health outcomes for local people.

You can find out more about local NHS infrastructure projects across the country on the ‘Our NHS Buildings’ website (opens in new window).

The opportunity for government funding has been granted to help us address significant problems with our ageing hospitals in Preston (Royal Preston Hospital) and Lancaster (Royal Lancaster Infirmary). We also need to invest in Furness General Hospital’s infrastructure in the context of its strategic importance and geographically remote location.

No final decisions have yet been taken as to how we will address these issues, what shape the new hospital facilities or refurbishments will take, or where these will be located. We have included a range of potential solutions on our published shortlist and will be led by the needs and views of patients, staff and local people as we narrow these down further.

We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform our hospitals and the services we provide for local people. By successfully delivering this New Hospitals Programme, every person in the Lancashire and South Cumbria area will have world-leading hospital care and facilities on their doorstep, when they need them.

This commitment to continuous quality improvements in our hospitals will help local people live longer, healthier lives.

What is to be built, and by when, is still to be decided.

We have now published a shortlist of possible options for new hospital facilities and are now carrying out detailed analysis of the feasibility of each of these. The programme will follow a clear process over the coming months, with scrutiny and approvals needed from decision makers within the NHS, the government and local authorities, and ongoing patient and public involvement, before the preferred option is agreed. The programme aims to complete the building of new hospital facilities by 2030.

Any new hospital facilities developed under the Lancashire and South Cumbria New Hospitals Programme will be NHS hospitals.

After engaging widely with patients, staff, GPs and primary care colleagues, local communities, elected representatives and other stakeholders, we will submit our proposals to the NHS and the Government for approval. The final decision will sit with them.

At this stage, we don’t know the final timescale for the proposals, but we are aiming to transform our hospitals and services by 2030.

It is too early to say what impact any changes might have as no decisions have been made on the location or shape of new hospital facilities. We will take every step possible to ensure that any impact on current hospital services is kept to an absolute minimum throughout.

The Lancashire and South Cumbria New Hospitals Programme will only be a success, and deliver NHS service improvements, if it meets the needs of you – our patients, staff and local people.

We’ll be guided by clinical opinion, experience, scientific evidence and data, and all of this will be combined with your feedback and ideas.

Visit our get involved page for more information on the various ways you can provide feedback and to connect with us through our social media channels.

Feedback from the public is an essential part of informing our proposals and we have been seeking their views through a range of channels, including face-to-face roadshow events in local communities led by Healthwatch Together, our website, in online workshops and using public research. We will continue to ask for feedback from local people through a variety of different channels, including face-to-face, telephone and online.

For more information on how to have your say, please visit our get involved page.

We are not in public consultation at this point. We are at an earlier stage in the process. We are currently gathering initial feedback from staff, health experts, patient representatives and members of the public to help inform potential proposals on new hospital facilities. This work will continue to ensure local people’s views are gathered and reflected.

Later in the process, we may need to hold a public consultation depending on the proposals put forward for consideration.

We are actively speaking with a wide range of stakeholders in this early period of engagement regarding new hospital facilities, including NHS staff, patient representatives, members of the public and local MPs and councillors. We will continue to ensure that we listen to those who could be most impacted by changes to local hospital facilities.

We warmly welcome your feedback – find out how you can get involved.

If you can’t find the answer to your question here, you can get in touch through our contact form.

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