In conclusion he said that change was the only constant, stressed the importance of the Health and Wellbeing Board, said that there was a constant focus on interagency working and that the footprint (meaning the population a hospital served) would be changing.
Cllr Green spoke about the partnership work and referred to his role as a hospital governor. He asked in regards to a cottage hospital why a large footprint was required to provide a quality service? Mr. Richards replied that a sufficient population base with the right amount of patients was required for a higher quality of outcome. He said unlike decades ago that general physicians were not employed now by a District General Hospital. Instead doctors were cardiologists, gastroenterologists, specialist diabetic doctors etc. Even in cardiology, doctors focussed on certain types of heart conditions. In order to keep up their level of expertise these doctors needed to see numbers of patients that were more if a hospital served a population of greater than 250,000 for example the Wirral and Cheshire population. Wirral and Cheshire share a renal and dermatology service. Looking at specialist cardiology, there had to be a balance between access to services at a local level and quality of service. In this area the vast majority were seen in an outpatient setting.
Cllr Rennie asked about the high number of stillbirths reported in the media and what WUTH was doing about this. The answer was that they employed CHKS to compare their clinical data to a peer group of other hospital trusts of a similar size. WUTH was in the top quartile and the issues they were not performing as well on compared to other trusts were organisational things. For example the length of hospital stays and their rates of day cases were lower. He said the Maternity Hospital was in the top 10.