Women’s Services Committee Chair’s Briefing - January 2024

Chair of NHS Cheshire and Merseyside Raj Jain

Welcome to the first Chair’s briefing of 2024 and happy new year!

In my last briefing I wrote about how NHS Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care Board (ICB) had agreed proposed changes to the way that the Women’s Services programme was structured. Following this, the Women’s Services Committee met on 17 January to put in place final arrangements to support the changes, and you can read updated terms of reference for both the Committee and the new Programme Board via the website.

The main purpose of the programme is to develop a clinically sustainable model of care for hospital-based maternity and gynaecology services delivered in Liverpool. However, it’s really important to have clarity about exactly which areas we’re focussing on – including being clear about what isn’t part of the programme – so the Programme Board has developed a Programme Definition. This document explains what is included in the programme, sets out how we will manage the process of understanding the issues facing these services, and explore how they might be addressed over the short, medium and long term.

The Committee heard from James Sumner, Chief Executive of Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust, and chair of the Programme Board, about the approach to managing the clinical challenges facing services. James spoke about how colleagues from Liverpool Women’s and Liverpool University Hospitals Foundation Trust are working together to put in place additional specialist staff, equipment, and training, so that services provided to women are the safest and the highest quality they can be, in the immediate term.

The Programme Board now needs to look at more complex clinical sustainability issues, which are likely to take longer to address. We will receive a further update on how this will be approached at the next Committee meeting in March. To support this, the Programme Board is currently developing a detailed programme plan, setting out how this will happen and expected timescales. We’ll share further details on this following the March meeting, as well as providing information about the next steps for getting people involved in the programme – this is a critical part of our work, and we’re putting in place plans to ensure that those with lived experience are engaged at the earliest stages.

Raj Jain

Chair, NHS Cheshire and Merseyside ICB, and Women’s Services Committee