Mr Parry said: “Less money is available in the NHS. Something has to give right across Merseyside. Our vision is to go for the ICO, where we put more into the community with the CCGs and invest more in keeping people out of hospital.
“A lot of people come into hospital when they don’t need to. What we would like to do is expand services in the community and in the home.
“It will mean slimming down the number of beds in the hospital, admitting less people, treating more people in the home and community.
“That’s the model we are working on, that’s a complete culture change for the hospital, community GPs and services.”
This ambitious change of culture comes within the context of huge budget cuts which have taken their toll on the trust, forcing it to make sure any plans for the future are financially viable.
Millions of pounds has been cut from the trust’s budget so far, jobs have gone and land next to Southport hospital in Kew has been sold off for housing development.
Trust officials are looking at the potential to sell land at the Ormskirk site too, though they are looking at the potential for a new ward to be built at Southport hospital to help the site cope with overflow patients at peak times.
Mr Parry said: “Every year we have to make something like a 4-5% cut. We have delivered £6.6m savings this year and next year it will be £8m. That’s part of taking £20bn out of the NHS over five years. There’s no fat to cut, it gets harder, there’s no doubt about that – we have sold off the family silver.
“We are better than we would be expected to be with the population we have and we are proud of that. We are doing well on the quality side but we have to look at that whilst taking stuff out. We have invested in nursing but we have let people go who were good people but we couldn’t afford to continue.”
And the need for a “culture change” within the trust does not just come from budget pressures. In particular there is a greater strain on the health service with a high proportion of the 225,000-strong population which the two hospital sites serve being elderly.
Hospitals are dealing with sicker, older and frailer patients spending more time in care, increasing pressure on staff at peak times – such as earlier this year when the Medical Day Unit at Southport hospital, normally used for chemotherapy patients, was turned into an emergency overflow ward.
Hospitals are also facing greater competition from outside the NHS, with companies such as Specsavers expanding their services to include hearing aids. Losing patients to Specsavers over hearing aids could have implications for the Ear, Nose and Throat department.
Mr Parry said: “There’s been a gradual change towards this model of competition and we need to get FT to hang on to these services.
“If it’s a level playing field I think we can compete, I think we can actually deliver a different model of care here that could be a model for the rest of the country.”
Mr Parry confirmed there are no plans to lose any services at either hospital, nor are there plans to move any services between Ormskirk and Southport.
That could change if the FT bid, which has several stages to go before it reaches Monitor, fails.
But as severe as the prospects of failure are, Mr Parry is confident the Trust can achieve FT status, and promised if at any stage this opinion changed he would hold his hand up and pull out of the bid.
He said: “I think we are capable of going through to a FT. It’s not going to be easy because they keep raising the bar.
“My view is we need to be robust to stand up in the future and the benefits are there for patients if we become a FT. We are not doing it just because we want to.
“We are striving to do what we need to do to become a FT but we will never lose sight of the safety or quality of care.”