Sir Julian Hartley visits Liverpool Women’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

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16 June 2023

Julian Hartley
Chief Executive

Delivering high-quality care for women at some of the most difficult times in their lives is imperative for Liverpool Women’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (LWH). The trust is a calm, warm and welcoming environment, centred on the needs of women, babies and their families. However, there remains an inherent risk associated with the isolated nature of the site away from other hospital settings despite the trust and its clinical workforce working hard to mitigate these risks. Clinicians within the trust are clear that the risks associated with isolation can only be truly resolved by co-locatio

n of the hospital adjacent to, or within, an acute hospital setting in the city. Sustainability of women’s services in the city is the focus of the Cheshire & Merseyside Integrated Care Board (ICB) led Women’s Services Committee.

I started my visit with a discussion with the executive team about some of the challenges facing the trust and some potential solutions at a local and national level. They expressed that trust finances and restrictions around capital are some of the key issues facing the trust.

"The trust implemented ‘Family Integrated Care’ to ensure parents and families are involved in the care of their child"


Following this, the medical director Lynn Greenhalgh kindly agreed to give us a tour of the hospital, during which time I visited the recently renovated neonatal unit. The investment in the unit was driven by a desire to create an estate which minimised the risk of neonatal infection and provided ample space for parents to remain close to their baby. I saw how the trust implemented ‘Family Integrated Care’ to ensure parents and families are involved in the care of their child. I also learned how the trust is using research and collaboration across clinical teams to support neonatal babies even earlier in their lives. Some babies are now being supported at just 22 weeks, which highlights the advancement in research and clinical leadership, as well as the quality of staffing to deliver these services.

I also met an advanced neonatal nurse practitioner (ANNP), Deb, who’s worked at the trust for 14 years and. She’s seen a marked improvement since the newly refurbished neonatal unit. She highlighted the importance of her role as an ANNP in providing consistency for families and colleagues. To boost workforce capacity, they are currently advertising for additional staff to support the LWH site and the additional neonatal site currently being developed at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

After meeting Deb, I met neonatal consultants Jonathan and Elaine, who showcased a telemedicine robot which allows for remote consultations cross- site. This was used heavily during the pandemic to advise on cases and now helps colleagues at Alder Hey share expertise.

I concluded the visit with a trip to see the new permanent CT scanner. Staff working on the scanner told me that the time saved by allowing patients to receive this service within the hospital, rather than being transferred to an alternative trust, is huge. It’s clear that technology is key in enabling staff to deliver high-quality care for patients from across Cheshire and Merseyside through the Community Diagnostic Centre model.

"I was inspired by the passion and expertise of staff and the board, and their dedication to promoting women’s services"


Despite the high level of care offered at LWH, having such disparate hospital sites around the city, all providing different services, causes issues for patients and staff. Liverpool’s population experiences high levels of deprivation and the trust has seen a significant rise in the number of women with increasingly complex, and often multiple, health and social care needs. Women under the care of the Women’s Hospital often require additional urgent support from other specialists or services such as critical care, and the challenge of having to transfer unwell patients between sites was a key concern for the board . Similarly, other trusts in the city caring for pregnant women for other health reasons do not have immediate access to specialist obstetric care.

I left reflecting on the importance of delivering the right care in the right place, and how collaborative working can allow a more holistic view of where to deliver this geographically. I was inspired by the passion and expertise of staff and the board, and their dedication to promoting women’s services and levelling up the local gender health gap.

About the author

Julian Hartley profile picture

Julian Hartley
Chief Executive

Sir Julian Hartley joined as chief executive in February 2023, having been chief executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals since 2013, where he led a major programme of culture change and staff engagement to deliver improved quality, operational and financial performance.

Julian’s career in the NHS began as a general management trainee and he worked in a number of posts before progressing to a board director appointment at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust.

In 2019 Julian was asked to be the executive lead for the interim NHS People Plan, having previously worked as managing director of NHS Improving Quality, and in 2022 he was awarded Knight Bachelor for services to healthcare in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Read more

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