New NHS report shows what is important to people regarding future hospital facilities and how their views have shaped the New Hospitals Programme so far

Date posted: 26th September 2022 New NHS report shows what is important to people regarding future hospital facilities and how their views have shaped the New Hospitals Programme so far thumbnail image

Thousands of patients, members of the public and NHS staff have shared their views on potential new hospital facilities in the region. Here Jerry Hawker, Director of Transformation for NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board and Senior Responsible Officer for the Lancashire and South Cumbria New Hospitals Programme, outlines what the programme team has heard so far and how this has informed the process to date.

I am delighted to share our new Your Hospitals, Your Say report with you. This summary report provides an overview of the activity that has taken place and the feedback we have heard from people in Lancashire and South Cumbria to date.

Listening to the views of people living and working here is the only way we can fully understand what is required when shaping plans and proposals for new hospital facilities. I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has taken the time to share their views so far, and I encourage you to take the time to read the report in full. Please do continue to get involved and have your say to help us build the hospital facilities that our patients, staff, local communities and future generations need and deserve.

How have you been learning what people think about hospitals?

Our activities have focused on the people most likely to be impacted by the proposed changes. We made concerted efforts to collect the feedback and opinions of communities and groups in the region who are less frequently heard, as well as reaching out to the general public and staff.

The strategic focus was placed on in-depth, quality conversations with representatives of communities, rather than speaking to the largest possible volume of individual people. That said, we have managed to reach a large proportion of the local population as well.

We commissioned Healthwatch Together (opens in new window) to help us speak to patients, and run a number of public roadshow events, in a range of locations across the region. As well as this, independent market research was conducted with patients and members of the public, over the phone, online and in person, with more than 4,000 people taking part.

In total, over a 20-month period to date (from January 2021 to August 2022), 15,579 people across the region have got involved in the discussion about new hospital facilities, and over 1,000 staff attended four New Hospitals Programme Colleague Summits.

What have you learnt so far, and what seem to be the prevalent themes?

Travel and location have undoubtedly been the most discussed issues; Members of Parliament, the public, patients, staff, and wider stakeholders all agreed that travel and accessibility would be a top priority in the development of proposals. There was also high demand for sustainability to be a priority.

Most of the questions and points raised during our Colleague Summits echoed those themes. Participants were also interested in what would happen to the existing hospital sites, including how the transition would be managed to ensure no gap or drop in patient experience.

The Healthwatch engagement with inclusion groups saw contributors express their hopes for hospital sites with a well-thought-out design that caters to the needs of various groups and they made suggestions for new functional spaces. They also discussed the need for holistic care, tackling health inequalities and patient-centred care.

There were some fears and concerns expressed from an early stage about having a single new hospital to replace Royal Preston Hospital and Royal Lancaster Infirmary. The main concerns were about services being located too far away, potential difficulties navigating and travelling around the hospital, and treatment and care not being sufficiently patient-centred. The proposal is not one of our shortlisted options that we decided to carry forward after careful consideration.

Patients that responded to our online surveys told us that they want improved facilities and services for patients and staff, including places to eat and make meals; amenities for children; and adequate and improved staff facilities. Over half of respondents (56 per cent) felt it was important to have private, individual rooms for consultations and treatments when prompted, and a similar proportion (57 per cent) wanted any new hospitals to be environmentally friendly, by which most meant driving down carbon emissions through effective design, or transport options.

So what happens next?

The comments and feedback we have received from a wide range of people have been helpful in identifying hopes, fears, and desires for new hospital facilities. What we have heard during an intensive listening period has influenced the development of a longlist of viable solutions to our Case for Change and helped us to narrow this down to a shortlist.

Following detailed analysis of each shortlisted option’s feasibility, 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 and then the building of new hospital facilities can commence, with the aim of being completed by 2030.

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