Rosie Cooper MP

Working hard for the people of West Lancashire

31/10/05 Rosie Cooper MP fights against plans for hospital merge

Local MP Rosie Cooper is fighting against the proposal to merge Southport & Ormskirk Hospital Trust with Aintree and Royal Liverpool to create a single ‘mega-trust’. The outcome of such a merger would be to concentrate vital health services in Liverpool leaving residents of West Lancashire to make long journeys to use core health services.

Rosie Cooper said:

“I intend to stop this before it gets out of the starting blocks. I understand why there is an attraction for managers to try to concentrate power in one chief executive and in one board of directors.”

“But while it might be easier for them, it will be more difficult for patients because their NHS services will be less accessible and less convenient.”

“My big fear is that if we end up with a single trust stretching from Liverpool almost to Wigan services will be rationalised in Liverpool, which fills me with dismay.”

“A ‘Liverpool-centric’ solution to the financial problems of Southport and Ormskirk is not acceptable. It needs to put the interests of the patients first.”

The plans drawn up would:

-Merge Southport and Ormskirk and Aintree Hospital Trusts under a single acting chief executive, the existing chief executive Jim Birrell 
-Eventually merge Southport and Ormskirk and Aintree with Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust 
-Hand Liverpool Women’s Hospital responsibility for running women and babies unit at Ormskirk Hospital 
-Give Alder hey responsibility for running children’s services at Southport and Ormskirk.

The motivation for the shake-up is the need to tackle the £17 million deficit at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust.

Rosie has been meeting with the Department of Health for the past few weeks and will be briefing officials in London today.

On 25 October 2005 Rosie asked a Parliamentary Question of Secretary of State for Health, Rt. Hon. Patricia Hewitt about the issue of Hospital mergers.

Rosie Cooper: In light of the financial position of hospitals and the strategic health authority in the Cheshire and Merseyside area, does the Secretary of State know of any plans by the strategic health authority for a hospital reorganisation across Greater Merseyside, which would include Liverpool hospitals and Southport and Ormskirk in my constituency? What is her opinion of huge super-trusts that are multi-sited in a large area – in this case, across a city and two towns?

Patricia Hewitt: I am afraid that I shall decline me hon. Friends invitation to make an immediate comment. I am not aware of any such proposals. If she will permit me, I shall get more information about what, if anything, is being proposed. As part of the normal course of improving hospital and community services, health authorities and PCTs will want to continue to reconfigure services, especially to take advantage of medical technology and to take more are out of acute hospitals and bring it closer to home. However, I will examine the proposals in my hon. Friends area and write to her.

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