The Board received a report from the Chief Commissioner, NHS Halton CCG, which provided an update on the status of the realignment of Complex Spinal Surgery services across Cheshire and Merseyside.
The Chair welcomed Professor Simon Constable, Chief Executive of Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who presented the item with Dr Andrew Davies of NHS Halton and Warrington CCG. Maria Austin of NHS Warrington CCG and Martin Stanley of NHS Halton CCG, were also in attendance.
The Board was advised that NHS England in collaboration with the national programme for improvement of acute services, Gettiing it Right First Time (GIRFT), set out guidance and plans for the centralisation of complex spinal surgery and interventions to improve the outcomes and experiences of patients. This was developed in parallel with the production of the NICE Guidelines and National Pathway for the management of lower back pain to reduce the number of patients undergoing unnecessary surgical interventions.
Following an independent review of spinal surgery services in Cheshire and Merseyside by GIRFT, a number of recommendations were made; these were presented in paragraph 3.3 of the report. It was noted that these recommendations were then adopted as the design principles for a programme of work to establish a single service model for spinal surgery in Cheshire and Merseyside.
The report outlined the key drivers for change; how spinal surgery services would work under the new model; and the local engagement plans for Halton.
The guests responded to Members questions on the proposals, and the following was noted:
· The proposed lead provider would be The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust, working in collaboration with Liverpool University Hospitals;
· The remaining two spinal surgeons from Warrington Hospital would be relocated to the Walton Centre;
· The Halton Hospital site was being utilised more and more and there had been an increase in the number of cancer operations carried out there, also breast cancer services had moved to the Captain Sir Tom Moore Building;
· The Walton Centre was further away from Halton than Warrington, so there would be a requirement in some cases for transport assistance for patients;
· Under the new model it was proposed that there would be no change to the location of the Outpatient (Satellite) clinics and at present this did not include one at Warrington and Halton Hospitals (WHH). However work would continue on assessing whether the demand for a clinic at WHH was warranted. It was agreed that if this changed, then the details would be shared with the Board when the update on progress towards the development of the overarching model was presented; and
· Publication of the realignment of complex spinal surgery services would take place soon to raise public awareness.
On behalf of the Board the Chair thanked the guests for their attendance and they looked forward to receiving an update on progress at a future meeting.
1) the Board notes that the reconfiguration proposal was in line with the national recommendation for the centralisation of complex spinal surgery; and
2) the Board acknowledges that the new service configuration would provide Halton with a single point of access to a high quality, multidisciplinary led surgical service.