Matt Hancock, MP and Secretary of State for Health and Social Care visited Chorley and South Ribble Hospital last week (9th October) as part of a tour of hospitals in the North West.
During the visit, Mr Hancock met with senior leaders from the local NHS organisations, including Karen Partington, Chief Executive at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Denis Gizzi, Chief Officer at the Preston and Chorley and South Ribble Clinical Commissioning Groups, to discuss the vision for the future of the local health and care system.
The Central Lancashire health and care system is currently exploring options for how services could be arranged differently in future, through what is known as the Our Health Our Care programme. All of these options aim to improve health outcomes and experiences for local people as well as make the best use of the existing hospital sites and clinical workforce. At this stage, no decisions have been made about these options and will not happen until a full public consultation has taken place.
However, when the Joint Committee of the two local Clinical Commissioning Groups met in public on 28 August 2019 to consider these options, the Committee also stated a desire to explore, in parallel, the possibility of securing the necessary funding required to build a new hospital. Although it was recognised that this would be a longer-term solution and could not be considered as an option for any public consultation.
During the visit, Mr Hancock discussed the recent government announcement that the central Lancashire NHS will be given a slice of a £100m pot of funding to help develop plans for the longer-term vision of a new hospital build. He also reassured local leaders that this announcement was the green light to go ahead and plan for a new hospital site with strong assumptions that the necessary capital funding would follow in the future.
Speaking after the visit, he said: “I was delighted to visit Chorley and South Ribble Hospital and meet the team.
“I love the NHS and we want to help more hospitals across the country have world class facilities so I’m delighted we’re supporting the Trust’s plans to build a new hospital as part of our plan for 40 new hospitals across the country. I look forward to working with them on their plans for a new hospital to ensure the local area has the world class hospital facilities to go with the world class staff who work there.”
Karen Partington, Chief Executive at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted to have welcomed the Secretary of State to our hospital, it was a great opportunity to show him all of the fantastic work that is being done here in central Lancashire as well as outline in more detail our vision for the future. We are hugely enthused and really welcome the support for building a new hospital. We know that in the long-term this would absolutely be the right thing to do given the resulting benefits to our local communities, staff and ultimately the services we provide.
“However, we are also equally enthused to hear that the Secretary of State recognises and supports the need to reconfigure our services across our two existing hospital sites in order to make the necessary improvements for the more immediate future.
“We will continue to work with our partners through the Our Health Our Care programme to explore the options for how we best do this.”
Denis Gizzi, Chief Officer of the Greater Preston and Chorley and South Ribble CCGs added: “It was great to be able to welcome the Secretary of State to Central Lancashire and hear his support for our thinking to deliver improvements in the more immediate future as well as the longer-term. We will continue to work very closely as a whole health and care system to make sure that we are in the best position possible when the necessary capital funding we need to deliver these improvements becomes available to us.”