Anyone looking for exceptional practice in healthcare might want to look at Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. It has been a key player behind the success of the Cheshire and Merseyside Major Trauma Centre Collaborative (CMMTCC), which routinely achieves some of the best outcomes in the national Trauma Audit and Research Network results.

The hospital, situated around five miles north of Liverpool city centre, has recently invested £35 million in its urgent care and trauma facilities. A new emergency department, which provides major trauma, resuscitation, major and minor illness, and injury services, opened in 2015 and was followed by a new 24-bed critical care unit in 2016. “We have one of the most modern emergency departments in the country,” says Dr Steve Evans, Trust Medical Director. “This investment supports the excellence of the clinical care provided by our teams across the hospital.”


Challenges for the future

The communities served by the hospital are among the most deprived in the country and present significant health challenges. In 2015, the hospital introduced a new Ambulatory Emergency Care model to manage the flow of patients, treating as many patients as possible within the assessment unit to avoid admission to the main hospital. This approach has been so successful that the NHS Emergency Care Intensive Support Team has held the model up as national best practice.

In addition to major trauma care, Aintree provides a comprehensive range of acute services for an adult population of 330,000, which presents some of the greatest health challenges in the country. The hospital, which has around 700 beds, also provides world-class specialist services for Merseyside, Cheshire, South Lancashire, North Wales and the Isle of Man. These include complex obesity care and bariatric surgery, head and neck surgery, upper GI cancer, hepatobiliary, endocrine services, respiratory medicine, rheumatology, ophthalmology and alcohol services. Increasingly, the hospital is providing community-based services in conjunction with primary care or community providers, treating patients closer to home and reducing avoidable admissions to hospital.

“Our broad range of specialties means we are able to offer doctors a diverse patient caseload and the opportunity to work alongside senior consultants who are among the top specialists in their fields,” says Dr Evans. “For newly qualified doctors, it is a welcoming and supportive place to gain experience and there is real career progression available, with opportunities to move into consultant and leadership roles later on.” The trust was one of the first to be inspected under the current Care Quality Commission regime and was awarded a “Good” rating, making it one of a small number of university teaching hospitals to achieve this.


A research hospital

Aintree offers significant research opportunities for its doctors and is participating in or leading on up to 400 studies at any one time. It is a founding member of the Liverpool Health Partners – a strategic partnership of 10 secondary and tertiary care NHS organisations – the University of Liverpool and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, and a member of the North West Coast Clinical Research Network.

“One of the first things people say to me when they start working at Aintree is how friendly it is,” says Dr Evans. “There is a real sense of pride among our staff and that shines through. I can honestly say Liverpool is one of the most welcoming cities I know. That, combined with excellent opportunities for a career in medicine, make it an extremely appealing and fulfilling place to live and work.”