Public invited to Building Better Hospitals consultation events

A series of online events has been arranged to help people find out more and ask questions about proposals to spend £450 million transforming acute hospital and maternity services in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

The events have been arranged as part of the Building Better Hospitals for the Future public consultation, which launched at the end of September and runs until 21 December 2020.

The consultation concerns the services delivered at the three main hospitals in Leicester, run by University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL) NHS Trust, as well as services delivered at the midwifery-led unit at St Mary’s Hospital, Melton Mowbray.

The consultation events will take place online, using Microsoft Teams, due to the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. To ensure people who aren’t online are still able to participate, there is an option to listen in by telephone and submit any questions in advance.

The events complement other engagement activities being run by voluntary and community sector organisations to reach people in specific communities and particularly those who may be digitally excluded.

There are three types of online events – question and answer sessions with a panel of invited guests, public events with the opportunity to discuss the consultation, and workshops on specific topics.

The question and answer panel sessions will be able to host 1,000-plus attendees, with people able to ask questions during the event via the question and answer box within the Microsoft Teams Live platform, or submit them up to two hours in advance. The sessions are due to take place on October 12 (7-8.30pm), October 29 (10-11.30am) and December 7 (7-8.30pm).

The public events will host up to 250 people. People will be able to ask questions in exactly the same way as they would have done in a face-to-face public meeting, using the functionality of Microsoft Teams. The public events are due to take place on October 14 (2-3.30pm), October 15 (7-8.30pm), October 31 (10-11.30am), November 12 (7-8.30pm), November 21 (2-3.30pm), November 27 (10-11.30am), December 2 (7-8.30pm), December 12 (2-3.30pm) and December 13 (2-3.30pm).

In addition to these events, a number of workshops on specific topics within the consultation are being held so people can get into a discussion with others and give more detailed insights and views. These will be limited to a pre-registered audience of up to 15 people. People will have the choice of joining a workshop covering one of three topics on each date.

The workshops will take place on:

  • October 26 (6-7.30pm), with topics covering a general discussion, Leicester Royal Infirmary, and Leicester General
  • November 9 (11am-12.30pm) with topics covering a general discussion, carers, and maternity
  • November 18 (6-7.30pm) with topics covering maternity, Glenfield Hospital, and Leicester General
  • November 19 (6-7.30pm) with topics covering a general discussion, Leicester Royal Infirmary, and the children’s hospital
  • November 23 (6-7.30pm) with topics covering a general discussion, Glenfield Hospital, and Leicester Royal Infirmary.

Details of how to join the online events will be available on the consultation website: 

www.betterhospitalsleicester.nhs.uk. All the insights and feedback from the events will be captured and incorporated into the consultation to be analysed and evaluated.

Andy Williams, Chief Executive for the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland clinical commissioning groups, said: “These online events are a great way of helping more people to find out about the proposals and ask questions of leading clinicians and managers, than would have been possible at face-to-face meetings before the pandemic.  

“We are spreading the message far and wide through the consultation documents, flyers, posters, media publicity, website, videos, social media and online meetings. In addition, voluntary and community sector representatives are supporting these efforts by using their extensive networks to further engage with local communities. We want as many people as possible to be engaged in this consultation and to have their say by completing the consultation questionnaire.” 

The Building Better Hospitals for the Future proposals are set to deliver a number of significant changes in improving patient care, achieving better patient outcomes, and getting staff all working in the best place to make this happen.

The proposals would provide 139 more hospital beds and change acute and maternity services by moving all acute care to the Leicester Royal Infirmary (in the city centre) and to Glenfield Hospital (on the outskirts of Leicester on Groby Road). Acute care includes patients receiving treatment for severe injury or illness, urgent medical conditions, or during recovery from surgery.

Among the new developments, this huge investment would see the creation of a major planned care treatment centre at the Glenfield Hospital. This would separate planned operations and emergency procedures and help stop urgent pressures leading to the cancellation of routine surgery.

The treatment centre, along with the delivery of more outpatient appointments virtually or closer to where patients live in the community, would reduce the number of patients attending the Leicester Royal Infirmary site by more than half a million per year – reducing city centre traffic and creating space for other exciting developments.

The proposals would see the creation of the first dedicated single-site children’s hospital in the East Midlands, based in the Kensington Building. It would also see a new maternity hospital developed on the site.

Meanwhile, two ‘super’ intensive care units with 100 beds in total (almost double the current number) would be developed at the Leicester Royal Infirmary and Glenfield Hospital. The investment would also see the creation of a welcome centre to help people find their way around the hospital sites, modernised wards, operating theatres and imaging facilities, and additional car parking.

It is proposed that a new ‘community health campus’ with non-acute services would be created on the site of Leicester General Hospital, in Evington (east of Leicester city centre on Gwendolen Road). The proposals include in-patient beds for patients recovering from a stroke, new GP direct access imaging facilities such as x-rays and scans to help diagnose patients’ conditions quicker, and the retention of the existing diabetes centre of excellence.

The proposals may also see a new primary care urgent treatment centre, observation facilities, community outpatient facilities for a range of mental and physical conditions, and additional primary care services.

In addition, the proposals include potentially relocating the midwifery-led unit at St Mary’s Hospital, Melton Mowbray to the Leicester General Hospital campus – ensuring that the service is accessible to many more women living across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, while also enabling them to be closer to specialist medical support should they need it. The existing unit is under-used, with less than three births per week, despite efforts to promote it.

The consultation will also consider greater use of hydrotherapy pools in the community, replacing use of the hydrotherapy pool at Leicester General Hospital.

The consultation is being run by the three NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland – Leicester City CCG, West Leicestershire CCG, and East Leicestershire and Rutland CCG.

Further information on the public consultation is available via phone 0116 295 0750, email beinvolved@LeicesterCityCCG.nhs.uk and the website www.betterhospitalsleicester.nhs.uk