Plans to create two specialist centres at City and Sandwell hospitals

13th Jan 2015

Health and social care organisations are planning to improve care in Sandwell and West Birmingham by creating two specialist centres at City and Sandwell hospitals.

Local healthcare commissioner Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has announced plans to locate urgent cardiology services at City Hospital and emergency surgery and trauma assessment at Sandwell Hospital from spring 2015.

The proposals are part of the Right Care Right Here* partnership, in which health and social care organisations covering Sandwell and West Birmingham have been working together for ten years to improve patient care.

At the heart of their work is the development of the new Midland Met Hospital in Smethwick by 2018. Work has already started to prepare for 2018 and ensure services are ready for working on one site.

By creating specialist centres, with certain services located at either hospital site, local health partners can improve quality of care, as clinicians can better maintain their skills. It also means patients can access faster treatment, as clinicians are no longer covering two sites. From 2018 there will no longer be this issue, as acute services will be based together at the Midland Met Hospital. In the meantime local health partners are in agreement that improvements should be made to existing services without delay.

The Right Care Right Here partners are planning to move urgent cardiology services to City Hospital, to give heart attack patients quicker access to treatment. Ambulance services will be able to contact the cardiology service immediately and bypass emergency departments. Outpatient cardiology services will continue to take place on all sites and increasingly in the community.

The improvements will also mean the building of new laboratories (treatment rooms). At the moment the existing laboratories are in need of replacement. By moving both laboratories onto one site, and replacing equipment, it will mean a better service for patients with minimal cancelled appointments.

The partners have been working to improve emergency surgery and trauma assessment since 2007, when inpatient wards were moved to Sandwell Hospital. Since then, inpatient services have been separated from the surgical assessment centre at City Hospital.

In spring 2015, the partners propose to bring together all emergency surgery and trauma assessment services by moving the assessment centre to Sandwell Hospital. This means staff with the right specialist skills will all be working as a team in one place. Ultimately this will deliver better care for patients.

Dr Nick Harding, Chair of Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG, who also chairs the Right Care Right Here partnership, said:

“Over the next three years we will need to transform local services to prepare for the new hospital. However, we don’t want to wait three years to improve services at the existing City and Sandwell hospitals.

“After reviewing national best practice and listening to our clinicians, we know that locating specialist units on single sites delivers better care for patients. As a result, we are confident that our plans will improve patient care.

“However, we recognise that future patients and their families need to be aware of these developments and we would like patients to tell us how we can best inform and support them. We hope to hear from a wide range of people about how best to do this through our survey and events across the area.”

Chief Executive, Toby Lewis, for Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust said:

“Most cardiac care and outpatient surgical care would remain local to West Birmingham and within Sandwell.  But under these important proposals, we plan to move in 2015 (three years earlier than planned) to inpatient specialist facilities on a single site. This would help us to improve outcomes and to recruit and retain outstanding staff able to deliver modern medicine. This is exactly what we did with stroke care in 2013, which has improved outcomes rapidly.”

As work to build the new hospital gets under way, the Right Care Right Here partners will be asking for patients’ views over the coming years to help them continue to improve health services in Sandwell and West Birmingham.

The Right Care Right Here partners are encouraging people to have their say by completing their online survey at before Friday, 20 March.

There are also a number of events being planned across the area.

  • 11 February – 6pm at the Postgraduate Centre (Surgical Skills Room), City Hospital, Dudley Road, B18 7QH
  • 17 February – 1pm at the Postgraduate Centre (Surgical Skills Room), City Hospital, Dudley Road, B18 7QH
  • 23 February – 1pm at West Bromwich Town Hall (Committee Room A), High Street, West Bromwich, B70 8DT
  • 25 February – 6pm at the Medical Education Centre (Beveridge Room), Sandwell Hospital, Lyndon, B71 4HJ.

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