THE outgoing chief executive of the Royal Liverpool Hospital Tony Bell has called for a radical shake-up of the way the region’s health services are run.
Tony Bell is moving on from his role as the man in charge of the Royal Liverpool Hospital after 25 years of working for the NHS in Merseyside.
He leaves at a time when talk of possible mergers between the Royal and Aintree hospital trusts and between Whiston, St Helens and Warrington hospitals dominate the headlines.
In an exclusive interview with the Liverpool Post, Mr Bell said the NHS in Merseyside was not sustainable as it exists today.
He said services needed reorganising and health leaders – specifically Clinical Commissioning Groups of GPs who will start making decisions about what the NHS should pay for and provide locally – need to sit down with hospitals and health organisations to shape the service locally and meet patient demand in the most cost-effective way over the next 25 to 50 years.
After helping to turn around the poor public perception of the Royal, improving its performance and reducing infection rates, Mr Bell has left in search of a new challenge working for an NHS trust in West London which itself is going through radical change.
It has five A&E departments but the NHS says it only needs three and is consulting on that proposal.
Mr Bell takes with him a wealth of knowledge. He was brought in as Alder Hey’s acting chief executive during the time of the organ retention scandal and drove forward plans to rebuild both Alder Hey and the Royal.
Catherine Beardshaw, chief executive of Aintree hospitals NHS trust, which runs Fazakerley hospital, wants her organisation to merge with the Royal and Broadgreen hospitals trust.
But Mr Bell says talk about two hospitals merging was a “distraction” from addressing a more complex problem.
He said: “Wherever you have a lot of acute trusts with very expensive kit and even more expensive staff and rota requirements, there has to be consolidation and reconfiguration of services to meet a changing population – and this is definitely a changing population.
“In many respects you only have to look at the ageing profile of our population.
“It makes sense to look at health services locally but I think to be quite bold about it, simply bringing two hospitals together will not do justice to that health challenge.