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Kevin McGee on the collaborative approach to the New Hospitals Programme  

Photograph of Kevin McGee OBE

The Lancashire and South Cumbria New Hospitals Programme is about “future-proofing health and social care for the generations to come”, says Kevin McGee OBE, Chief Executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (LTHTr) (opens in a new window) and Chief Executive Lead for the Lancashire and South Cumbria Provider Collaborative. Here he discusses how his Trust and University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) are working together to deliver on that ambition. 

How are the two Trusts working together to deliver this programme? 

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (opens in a new window) and University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (opens in a new window) are really joined at the hip on this. We are very supportive of one another and all of the work that we’re doing. Although we’ve each got a specific organisational lens on this, it’s absolutely joined together in an overall programme because this has got wider benefits for the wider Lancashire and South Cumbria health and care system. 

What is also important is that we think about the work we are doing as part of a wider piece of work across provider collaboration (opens in new window). We’re moving away from that period where the NHS was characterised by standalone Foundation Trusts, by payments-by-results, by competition, and we’re moving much more into an area of collaboration, of joint working that’s either between providers or through existing and emerging partnerships within our local communities. 

We have to think about ourselves as one system, and if there’s anything that the last couple of years have taught us, it’s that no one part of the system can prosper and survive by itself. Those seven or so years until 2030 will absolutely fly by, so the work that we do now is just so important. In getting this right, we have an opportunity to really future-proof health and social care for the generations to come. We can use the New Hospitals Programme as the catalyst for that change. 

Now that the shortlist has been announced, what possibilities does it open up to you as a Trust? 

Now we have a shortlist of proposals, it gives us that overall option of looking at what we could create in a new hospital build. It also allows us to think very imaginatively and creatively about what we could create on the Royal Preston Hospital (RPH) existing site as well.  

I think one of the concerns that we had, was that we’d go through a shortlist process and get to a number of options that really restricted our thinking, and I’m very comfortable now that the options that we’ve got will allow us to be much more imaginative. 

I started in Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust last September, and I’ve been immensely impressed by the quality of the services that are delivered. Those services are absolutely outstanding, but I’ve been quite shocked, particularly at the front end through the Emergency Department (A&E), the acute medical unit, and the ward block in terms of the physical buildings in which clinical teams, operational teams, management teams have to deliver their work. It really is not acceptable, and it’s not the quality of accommodation that we need for the future. We’ve got clinical teams trying to deliver clinical services to the highest possible standards in those conditions.  

So this is why this programme is so important – it will give us the platform, either in terms of a new build, or in terms of the existing site and redevelopment – to really focus our attention and to get the state-of-the-art facilities that the clinical teams, the operational teams, the leadership teams deserve and will back up their delivery of outstanding, world-class clinical services. 

Aside from Royal Preston Hospital, what impact will the New Hospitals Programme have on your other sites? 

You may have seen that over the last few months there have been significant capital investments at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital. We’ve just opened the new ophthalmic centre (opens in a new window), which really is state-of-the-art, and the new procedure rooms that are being established will provide significant additional capacity.  

Whichever combination of options we end up with through the New Hospitals Programme build, there will always be very strong and very long-term clinical services and investment on the Chorley site. It gives us the capacity to do more in terms of elective, but there’s a whole raft of other services that take place within the Chorley site and we are absolutely committed to its long-term future. What we need to do now is work through the links with the New Hospitals Programme, and how we can ensure the Chorley site is integrated into that wider programme of work. We also need the strongest, most well-invested out-of-hospital system that we can possibly develop to deliver care to the best of our abilities. 

Why is it so important for colleagues to get involved? 

This is a fantastic opportunity, so I would encourage everybody to get involved in the work that we’re doing. There’s going to be fabulous opportunities for colleagues to be involved in the design and implementation and in the delivery of the new services and clinical models, which will be a fabulous, career-defining, opportunity for all of us. 

Author: Kevin McGee OBE, Chief Executive Officer at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Read more about the shortlist of proposals for new hospital facilities in our region.

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