Stop the transfer of services from LCH to the Royal and Alder Hey announced today

Royal Liverpool

The Royal Hospital has enough problems with its own rebuild programme to be able to take over the servcies of LCH. It has few competences in community based health practice

Liverpool’s Lib Dem Leader, Cllr Richard Kemp, has asked the Chief Executive of NHS England to pause the move of community based health services from LCH to the Royal and Alder Hey Hospitals which has been announced today.

In a letter to Simon Stevens copied to the Chair of the House of Commons Health Select Committee, Dr Sarah Wollaston MP and Norman Lamb, the Lib Dem health spokesperson, Cllr Kemp has described the tendering process as botched and bungled and has asked for the NHS to do three things before the transfer of undertakings

  1. Review the tendering process to ensure that at the prices offered the service is deliverable;
  1. That the competences are put in place in Alder Hey and RLH at a senior level to manage these activities before any transfer; and
  1. That ways of ‘ring-fencing’ the existing budgets are put in place to make sure that appropriate work continues to be done within the community.

Cllr Kemp says, “This has been a botched and bungled exercise by Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group which has created a huge cost for NHS bodies and leads to an outcome which could place the future of community based health services in doubt within the City. The only way we can make the NHS which we so love sustainable is to do far more within the community and to stop people becoming ill in the first place. Acute hospitals like the Royal and Alder Hey exist to fill beds. They do not have the aptitude or experience to run community based services.

Ends:   Cllr Kemp can be contacted on 07866 626913

The full letter to Simon Stevens, The Chief Executive of NHS England is appended.

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE,

Leader Liverpool Liberal Democrats

16, Dovedale Road,

Liverpool L18 1DW

                                                           07885 626913


Simon Stevens,

Chief Executive,

NHS England

PO Box 16738,


B97 9PT

30th March 2017

Dear Simon,

Re:       Reallocation of services provided by LCH in Liverpool

I am writing to you to express my extreme concern over both the process involved in ‘winding up’ the affairs of LCH and the outcome of the process which was to transfer its core activities in Liverpool to two hospitals the Royal and Alder Hey.

The process has been botched and bungled from the start. There was little attempt to get the two relevant CCGs in whose areas the LCH had worked, to work together on a joint bidding process. Whilst I understand there were financial differences in the two areas the tendering exercise across a wide footprint would clearly have been more cost effective to both CCGs and those who tendered. It would also have attracted a wider number of bidders as the prize and the potential for real costs savings would have been greater.

The process in Liverpool seems to have been established with only one intent – to ensure that Bridgewater got the contract. How an organisation that was ‘Required to Improve’ by NHSI and which was shedding contracts in other parts of its areas of operation could be allowed to bid for new work is beyond me. But that is what happened.

There are obvious attractions to working with Merseycare, which is the most relevant operation in the area in terms of community based practices. They have got the contract in the Sefton area but not in Liverpool. I understand that this was because there was a price difference between themselves and Bridgewater. This could of course mean that Bridgewater was deliberately under-pricing to get the work whilst Mersey Care was setting a true base for the work. This suspicion now has been compounded by the fact that Bridgewater is not to get the work. My understanding is that between them Bridgewater and Merseycare have spent £2 million on this process only to find that the contract has been placed elsewhere after discussions which have lacked a strong, robust and independent procurement process.

The work has now been placed with a consortium of the Royal Hospital and Alder Hey. Whilst it was right that some of the peripheral services previously undertaken by LCH neither of these hospitals have experience of running the community based services that LCH provided. I understand the desire for what the NHS now calls ‘Vertical Integration’ in that one organisation can oversee the entire work being undertaken around individual patients and their families BUT:

  1. That can only be properly achieved if the organisation has the proven expertise in the additional fields and the capacity to deliver them; and
  1. There are strong safeguards in place to ensure that the money remains within the community activities which are so desperately needed. As we have seen recently with the so-called £1billion awarded by the Government to mental health activity large parts of this were swiped by the CCGs and put into dealing with the financial difficulties of the acute hospital services.

It is my belief that unless we do more in terms of preventative public health activity; cost-effective community based activity and then swift action within the community to get people out of hospital the NHS will simply buckle under the strain.

For these reasons I am asking you to put the transfers of responsibilities to RLH and Alder Hey on hold pending a top level review of:

  • The tendering process to ensure that at the prices offered the service is deliverable
  • That the competences are put in place in Alder Hey and RLH at a senior level to manage these activities before any transfer; and
  • That ways of ‘ring-fencing’ the existing budgets are put in place to make sure that appropriate work continues to be done within the community.

On a wider level I am not clear that the expertise exists either within your own organisation or NHSI to manage operations of this sort. The cost to the NHS and taxpayer by this sort of bungling is immense and all of it is money that would be better spent on patient care. I would be interested to know, as I am sure would Dr Wollaston MP and Norman Lamb MP about the role that NHSE and NHSI have played in this very sad affair.

Yours sincerely,



Cllr Richard Kemp CBE

Leader, Liverpool Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on Health & Social Care, Local Government Association


Cc:       Norman Lamb MP, Lib Dem Spokesperson Health and Social Care

Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, Chair, Health Select Committee.



About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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