latest health care news

12.02.15

Morecambe Bay review calls for 500 hospital job cuts and more community services

A major review of healthcare around Morecambe Bay will see the trust cut 500 jobs and services moved out of the hospital and into the community.

The review aims to reduce the number of hospital admissions by 9,000 annually and will reduce the £26.3m deficit of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS FT (UHMBT) while improving care, local bosses have said. The plan was developed over two years after consulting with experts and patients.

Better Care Together, which cost £3.3m to produce, was carried out by local NHS organisations including Lancashire North CCG, Cumbria CCG and UHMBT, which runs the hospitals in Lancaster, Barrow and Kendal.

The trust is in special measures and awaiting the outcome of an inquiry into deaths in a maternity unit.

The plans will see UHMBT cut 525 jobs over the next five years across its three hospital sites while elective surgery would be concentrated Lancaster Infirmary and Furness General.

Westmoreland General will remain open as a "hub for community and specialist services”, but there will also be more services delivered outside of hospital, with consultants travelling to patients.

The review calls for the trust to keep consultant-led maternity services in both Barrow and Lancaster, however this proposal is subject to the outcome of an investigation into deaths of mothers and babies at Furness General Hospital between 2004 and 2013, due to be published later this month.

The trust was put into special measures last year by healthcare regulator Monitor after concerns about quality of care and staffing.

Monitor and NHS England must agree to the strategy for it to go ahead.

A spokesman for UHMBT said: “A great deal of work has already been undertaken to improve the quality of services right across our hospitals; however in order to make the further change needed to ensure local people have access to the very best health and care services well into the future, we now need to go even further.

“We have great ambitions for our hospitals and the wider health and care system. Our plans for the future not only include improving how, when and where patients access services, but also to improve the buildings in which they are treated.

“We will continue to discuss our plans and funding opportunities with NHS England and Monitor, and we will also review them following the soon-to-be published findings of The Morecambe Bay Investigation.”

(Image source: Magnus Manske)

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