A date for the long-awaited move to the site of the new Royal Liverpool University Hospital has been confirmed for September.
Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (LUHFT) said the trust took partial possession of the building from construction partners Laing O’Rourke on 11 July.
The Trust will begin its plan that will see staff, patients and services move across to the new building in a phased approach, starting on 28 September with the move complete by 21 October 2022.
Specialist medical equipment including multi-million-pound scanners, office supplies, desks and PCs are being installed in the new hospital.
James Sumner, LUHFT Chief Executive, said: “The new hospital marks the beginning of a new era of healthcare in the city, when the people of Liverpool will finally have the hospital and facilities that they deserve.
“Today represents a real milestone in the life of Liverpool University Hospitals and in the construction of the new Royal Liverpool University Hospital.”
In January 2018 the construction company Carillion went into liquidation, leaving two new hospitals, the Royal Liverpool University Hospital and the Midland Metropolitan Hospital unfinished. The projects were being built under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), and needed to be completed with public finance.
A National Audit Office report into Carillion’s PFI contracts said the original Royal Liverpool project, estimated to cost £746 million, could ultimately cost over £1 billion to build and run.
Another report in October last year from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which has previously raised issues about patient safety at LUHFT, rated the trust as ‘requiring improvement overall’ following an inspection in June and July 2021.
It carried out the unannounced check of the trust’s urgent and emergency care, surgery and medical care services due to continuing concerns about the quality and safety of some services.
Frontline staff revealed they did not feel ‘respected, supported and valued’ by senior managers.
LUHFT was formerly called Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and changed its name in October 2019 when it acquired Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Hospitals NHS Trust.
Key challenges over Royal Hospital move
CQC inspectors said one of the key challenges the trust faced was preparing for the move to a new hospital building on the Royal Liverpool University Hospital site.
But Michelle Jones, a ward manager in Critical Care at the Royal, said she has high hopes for the move: “At the moment in Critical Care we have three separate units across three floors. Once we move into the new Royal, we’re going to be located together, which is exciting for us as a team and fantastic for our patients.
“It means the patient can stay in the same room and the team caring for them can change, depending on the patient’s needs. Being in one place means we can up-skill our staff, so we have more staff able to care for the most seriously unwell patients in critical care, which again is a great benefit for our patients.”
The trust launched a public consultation last month about proposals for services in breast surgery, general surgery, nephrology, urology and vascular surgery.
If the changes go ahead across Aintree, the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen hospitals, it would mean that in some cases patients would be treated at a different LUHFT hospital than they might currently use.
The Royal College of Nursing in the North West warned that there should be enough staff in place ‘with the right skill mix’ to implement proposed changes.
To support the transition to the new hospital, LUHFT said significant investment is being made across all sites within the trust, including a £52m investment package at Aintree University hospital, which includes a £16m investment to improve the Emergency Department as well as the development of hybrid operating theatres, which will support the delivery of specialist surgical services.
In addition, the final two of three link bridges will be installed to link the new Royal with Clatterbridge Cancer Centre. The first link bridge was installed in June.
Construction teams will remain on site at the Royal into 2023 to complete internal and external works, particularly the new podium main entrance drop-off, which will allow easier access for patients and visitors.
To contribute to the LUHFT consultation about services see www.futureLUHFT.nhs.uk
The trust is also seeking views about the Royal Liverpool University Hospital move until 29 July.
You can find out more and share your views on the Trust’s website.