Liverpool Women’s Hospital ‘consultation’ sham


Liverpool Women’s Hospital holds a place near the heart of most Scousers, who have seen their children born there or had mothers, sisters, daughters cared for. It offers multiple benefits, from an easily-accessed position outside the city centre to easy parking – and, of course, for the women it cares for it offers the huge advantage that, as its name suggests, it specialises in treating women rather than being a multi-purpose facility.

CCGs (Clinical Commissioning Groups) were created as part of then-Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Act 2012 (HASCA) – against the wishes of a majority of health professionals, their professional bodies and the population at large, as well as breaking the Tories’ solemn promise of ‘no more top-down reorganisations of the NHS’.

Liverpool CCG wants to close “the Women’s”, as it is often referred to locally. It’s a case that exemplifies the kind of attrition of the NHS that is happening all over England.

The CCG had originally put forward four options for its ‘consultation’ – an exercise often considered a hollow gesture at best – as follows:

  1. Relocate women’s and neonatal services to a new hospital building on the
    same site as the new Royal Liverpool Hospital
  2. Relocate women’s and neonatal services to a new hospital building on the
    same site as Alder Hey Children’s Hospital
  3. Make major improvements to Liverpool Women’s Hospital on the current
    Crown Street site
  4. Make smaller improvements to the current Crown Street site

At its March meeting, the CCG gave unconditional assurances that these four options would be put to the public in the consultation:

lccg mins.png

But the CCG has gone back on its commitment and has removed all the options – except for its ‘preferred’ option of closing the hospital and moving everything to the new ‘Royal’.

The public is effectively being consulted on a done deal.

This is far from the only time that such ‘consultations’ have been little more than a sham, a PR exercise to give the impression of due process, but with a pre-ordained outcome.

When the residents of Stafford were trying to save the accident and emergency department at their smeared and highly-valued local hospital, the ‘public consultation’ was still scheduled for a future date when the SKWAWKBOX revealed that the hospital’s staff had already been told that the A&E would not open. The consultation by the ‘TSA‘ was nothing more than a charade.

Lesley Mahmood, representing the “Save the Women’s Hospital” campaign, spoke furiously about the pre-determined sham:

This is not a consultation. It is not what should be expected in a democracy. We are calling on the CCG to reverse this decision when it meets Tuesday, 10 October at 2:30 pm in the Lewis Building. Individuals and community groups will be demanding they be given the opportunity to consider all four options.

The only currently remaining option, the closure of the Crown Street site in favour of a unit at the Royal has at least one major drawback – the Royal is located in one of the busiest parts of the city centre. Imagine you or your partner in labour, trying urgently to get to the hospital and you find yourself stuck in a traffic jam or unable to find a parking space.

The Crown St site, by contrast, is far more easily accessible and parking is just a few metres from the front door of the hospital.

But this is far from the biggest problem. The plan for the new Royal has no budget for a women’s unit remotely like what the Women’s offers – so the city’s women and those who care about them are being asked to accept a single option that will result in the closure of a treasured facility – and to simply take on trust the availability of funds for its replacement.

The situation in Liverpool is a microcosm of the degradation and removal of NHS facilities being inflicted on us by the Tories across England – often ‘under the radar’ and while they deny it’s happening.

As Ms Mahmood notes, the CCG is scheduled to meet again at 2.30pm on Tuesday this week in the city centre. If you live within the catchment area for the Women’s – or just care about the NHS – and can get there, your presence and support will be invaluable to the campaign and in putting pressure on the CCG to keep its promise and put all four options to the public.

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  1. There was never any doubt the tories would simply shut it. The CCG should be met by the most hostile crowd ever assembled in Liverpool. The CCG is made up of Doctors who should know better. They should be publicly named and shamed. We have the same problem in our area. The local CCG is trying to close a local walk in centre which is well used. The CCG have gone through the same sham consultation as the Liverpool women’s hospital. The local GPs will have a lot to answer for in these parts.

  2. I don’t fancy the CCG’s chances against the amazingly strong people of Liverpool. I have every faith they will stand strong and win this fight.


  4. This rail roading is nothing new. Mill Road was closed and moved then after a whitewash of a public consultation at Fazakerley (as it was then) that was closed and moved. It was so obviously a done deal by men in a tower that had no idea of the real world. But for the emergency services in my opinion there would have been a lot if tragedies.
    I am sorry I cannot attend the meeting.

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