• Moving Liverpool Women’s FT to the new build Royal Liverpool Hospital described as the ‘best suboptimal solution’
  • Clinical review rejects case put forward by Alder Hey Children’s Hospital
  • Suggests long term solution should be to co-locate all adult and children’s services

A clinical review has found plans to move maternity services in Liverpool offer the ‘best suboptimal solution’ for patients in the city.

Under a major transformation programme led by Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group, it is proposed Liverpool Women’s Foundation Trust should relocate to the new build Royal Liverpool Hospital in the city centre.

Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust

Liverpool Women’s services are expected to move to the new site by 2022

An independent review, requested by NHS England, said co-locating Liverpool Women’s services with the adult acute hospital was the better option, rather than moving them alongside paediatric services at Alder Hey Children’s FT.

Alder Hey, which is in the east of the city, argued the services should be moved to its site, saying the RLH option would not comply with a national directive that neonates should be co-located with paediatric surgery.

The North England clinical senate accepted the preferred option would be a “compromise” and would not meet national specifications.

It said the “only long term solution which would fully address safety and sustainability” would be to move all the services, including Alder Hey’s, to the new site.

However, the clinical senate acknowledged this was “not possible in the short to medium term” because Alder Hey has just moved to a new hospital. It added: “On balance, the review panel agrees there is no ideal solution but taking into account the differing views with each medical speciality, that the option to move Liverpool Women’s Hospital services to the RLH site offers the best suboptimal solution.”

The review objected to the Alder Hey proposal because there would be no critical care facility for adults, while splitting obstetrics and gynaecology, which should be provided alongside cancer services at RLH, would create “significant clinical risk”.

The current services at Liverpool Women’s have been found to be financially and clinically unsustainable, and the review confirmed there was a “high risk” for patients due to the lack of a full range of imaging services, the lack of a blood bank, the lack of level three adult critical care services onsite and poor access to colorectal surgery.

Building work on the new Royal Liverpool Hospital, run by Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Hospitals Trust, is due to finish next year. Under the Healthy Liverpool programme, Liverpool Women’s would merge into the trust being created through the merger of Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen with Aintree University Hospitals FT.

Liverpool CCG said: “The [clinical senate] judged that on balance the option to relocate services to a new hospital next to the new Royal Liverpool Hospital was the most appropriate and sustainable of the four potential options.”

Two of the options involved Liverpool Women’s staying at its current site on Crown Street.

The CCG said there will be “a potential public consultation on a proposal for these services in late 2017 or early 2018”. Funding to move the Liverpool Women’s services has not been secured, but the aim is to move services by 2022. It is thought £100m would be required.

Alder Hey has been approached for comment.