Revealed: Controversial NHS blueprint to overhaul Merseyside’s hospitals

NHS bosses today unveiled controversial plans for hospital mergers and A&E downgrades as a long-awaited report on the future of health services was finally published.

The five-year blueprint for healthcare in Merseyside and Cheshire lists a number of radical overhauls in a bid to plug a £900m black hole. Suggestions include reduced A&E opening hours at Southport, Warrington and Whiston hospitals, a merger of the Royal Liverpool and Aintree hospitals, and a new Liverpool Women’s Hospital.

It also hints at a major overhaul of hospitals in Wirral – just one day after we reported how NHS chiefs are in talks about creating a new super-site to serve the whole of Wirral and west Cheshire.

Two draft versions of the controversial plan were previously leaked to the ECHO but the 58-page final edition has now been published.

The document, called the sustainability and transformation plan (STP), has drawn stinging criticism from politicians.

One MP said the changes were like “re-arranging the Titanic’s deck chairs”. But the NHS says its plans are necessary to fight the “significant challenges” it faces, including a £908m deficit in Cheshire and Merseyside by 2021.

Full story in The Liverpool Echo, 16 November 2016