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Changes to adult services across Solihull, Good Hope and Heartlands Hospitals: July-August 2019

In July 2019, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust proposed to reorganise some of its adult services across Solihull, Good Hope and Heartlands hospitals to improve outcomes and reduce waiting times for patients. The specific services that the Trust changes to were trauma and orthopaedics, and gynaecology services.

It is estimated the changes will affect around 10 patients a day. To put this in perspective, the hospitals see around 1,200 A&E attendances, over 5,000 outpatients and 500 day case procedures a day.

The changes mainly apply to surgical procedures only (operations) and may mean that patients may need to attend a hospital which is not their local hospital, for their operation. However, while some people may have to travel further for certain treatments, the vast majority will continue to be treated at their local hospital.

There are no proposed changes to where pre and post-operative outpatient, x-ray and scans and therapy (e.g. physiotherapy) appointments take place – they will still take place at the patient’s local hospital. There will be no changes to children’s services.

  • In line with best practice, equality analyses were carried out before and after the engagement period. Please click to view the pre-engagement and post-engagement analyses.
  • Learn about the engagement outcomes in the full engagement report here.
  • View the presentation and the proposal for the Joint Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee (JHOSC) from June 2019.
  • View the presentation on the summary of outcomes from engagement activities for the JHOSC from September 2019.

For more information, please see our consultations, surveys and events page.

You said  We did

We are concerned about the additional travelling.

Patients will continue to have all their outpatient appointments, pre-operative assessments and care, diagnostics (x-rays and scans) and post-operative follow up appointments at their local hospital. Extra travel will only be applicable to the patient’s surgical procedure. Some patients are already choosing to have their procedures at a hospital that might be further to travel. It is acknowledged that this may cause some inconvenience to patients, but it is strongly felt that the benefits of making the changes outweigh this.

If you are an inpatient and need to transfer to a different hospital as part of your care journey, you will go via hospital transport (no cost). If you are eligible for non-emergency patient transport to get to an appointment, this can be arranged direct through WMAS.

If you are having a planned procedure or operation, if you are eligible, you will receive reimbursement for travel costs.  ie, If you are in receipt of one of the following benefits you are entitled to claim for travel costs for appointments for NHS treatment.

  1. Income Support
  2. Guaranteed Pension Credits
  3. Tax Credits with an exemption certificate
  4. Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance
  5. Income Related Employment and Support Allowance
  6. Low Income HC2 or HC3 certificates

Most patients who have a day case procedure are brought into hospital by a relative/carer.

We are worried about parking at the hospital sites. Parking capacity and charges are not going to change at the three hospital sites as a result of these changes. As the number of patients distributed across the three sites will be fairly consistent (e.g. numbers of patients/visitors will be the same), there no particular additional issues with car parking anticipated.  

We are anxious about our visitors not being able to come and see us.

The positive impact that visitors have on patients’ recovery is acknowledged. It is fully expected that the majority of patients will have a reduced length of stay if services, and improved outcomes, are reconfigured in this way. However, a survey will be given to patients on their discharge (attached), to understand if they feel that their experience in hospital has been negatively impacted upon. Each hospital has open visiting times to ensure maximum flexibility for loved ones (e.g. not needing to travel in rush hour or making use of concessions on public transport outside of peak times).
Are you sure the hospitals have got enough capacity? There are no capacity issues anticipated, on the contrary, reduced waiting times for operations and fewer cancellations are just two of the key benefits for wanting to make the changes. UHB is adding capacity and making more use of existing capacity through improved efficiencies.

How will you ensure that hospital records are transferred securely between hospital sites?

UHB has robust and comprehensive policies in place for the movement of medical records.

The Trust adheres to strict Data Protection, Confidentiality, Information Governance and Record Management policies and procedures.

It has robust informatics and IT systems to ensure the Electronic Patient Record (EPR) is protected. The Trust has Global Digital Exemplar status in recognition of its digital expertise.

All policies and procedures were sent as evidence to Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

What about the impact on other hospitals?

Patients can choose to have their procedure at any hospital that offers the service; this could be within Birmingham and Solihull, or further afield. These proposals will not impact on patient choice.

Is this about saving money?

These proposals are not about removing any services or saving money; there has been a £2.5million investment in estate and infrastructure.

We would like all services to remain at our local hospital.

By creating centres of excellence at Solihull and Good Hope Hospitals, in dedicated and high-quality facilities, patient outcomes and experience will significantly improve. The services offered at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital will not be affected by these proposals.

How will we know that the changes have resulted in better outcomes for patients and outweigh any potential negative impacts from increased travel problems and reduced visitors?

UHB has implemented a discharge survey for patients within the three services affected.

Through our patient experience team we will ensure we fairly and accurately capture feedback and report the findings.

Our own systems will record data on length of stay; outcomes; waiting times for operations and associated cancellations caused by bed pressures, which will be reported publicly.

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