STRUCTURE: The Arden primary care trust cluster has decided to transfer children’s inpatient services from George Eliot Hospital Trust to Coventry University Hospital.

The idea had been put out to consultation in July.

A new short-stay paediatric assessment unit will be established at George Eliot Hospital, open between 8am and 10pm. There will be no changes to George Eliot’s maternity services or to the special care baby unit.

The proposal was the only option consulted on, and is now expected to be implemented by 1 April 2013.

In the consultation document, commissioners argued the changes were necessary because of the small numbers of children seen at George Eliot, which meant a limited range of conditions and illnesses were being treated. “This has an impact on medical training and development,” it said.

The document said concerns were raised by “a number of organisations” about the quality of inpatient paediatric services, most recently by the West Midlands Deanery in 2011.

Speaking on the decision, Stephen Jones, Arden Cluster chief executive, said: “George Eliot Hospital plays a vital role in providing healthcare to local people and I am delighted that we have been able to find a solution to the long-standing challenge of a sustainable model of care for children’s services at the trust.

“Through local clinicians working closely together and from the input of partners and the public, we are able to implement a model which preserves the maternity service and special care baby unit at George Eliot and minimises the changes to the children’s service.”

Kevin McGee, chief executive of George Eliot Hospital, added: “We welcome the outcome of this consultation and look forward to working with local healthcare partners to develop a model of care that continues to provide a high quality, sustainable service for local people.

“While we understand people’s concerns about the move of inpatient paediatric services to Coventry, we see this as a great opportunity to develop a high quality service that continues to meet the needs of local people into the future.”