Frequently asked questions

What is the New Hospitals Programme?

As part of the government’s pledge to build 40 new hospitals by 2030, the Lancashire and South Cumbria New Hospitals Programme offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform our region’s ageing hospitals and develop new, cutting-edge hospital facilities that offer the absolute best in modern healthcare. The programme is aiming to address significant problems with our ageing hospitals in Preston (Royal Preston Hospital) and Lancaster (Royal Lancaster Infirmary). We also need to invest in Furness General Hospital’s infrastructure in the context of its strategic importance and geographically remote location.

What is the Lancashire and South Cumbria New Hospitals Programme Big Chat?

We want NHS staff in our Trusts, CCGs and the Integrated Care System, primary care colleagues, and representatives of local community and patient groups, to get involved and share ideas about what shape the new hospital facilities or refurbishments will take, and where these should be located. The plans we develop will be clinically led and need to reflect the needs and desires of NHS patients, workforce, communities and those that work with and alongside the NHS, today and in the future.

The Big Chat provides the platform for us to listen to views, ideas, needs and concerns. It will be carried out online and the data will be analysed and used to influence plans, ahead of a possible public consultation.

Who can get involved?

NHS staff in our Trusts, CCGs and the Integrated Care System, primary care colleagues, and representatives of local community and patient groups, will be invited to join the Big Chat.

What is an online conversation and how does the platform work?

The platform works a bit like a physical conversation or workshop, but unlike a typical in-person conversation the online workshop does not require you to be there at the same time. It uses a digital crowdsourcing approach - a virtual room in which all eligible participants can join from any internet-connected device to have their voice heard, any time of day or night.

The Big Chat is intended to be an open and transparent place to share and nurture ideas and energy. You can make suggestions, post comments, vote to support the ideas of others, or simply read and keep up to date with what is being shared.

Will my comments on the platform be anonymous?

Any contributions you submit in the Big Chat will be visible to others taking part in the conversation. However, your personal details will not be visible on the platform: your information will not be shown next to any of your ideas, comments or votes. This means that your ideas will be treated by other participants based on their merit, not based on who you are.

Who will know if I take part in the online workshop and what I have said?

The online conversations are managed by Clever Together, an experienced independent organisation that has worked on numerous NHS projects across the country. No-one will be able to identify you, not even the Clever Together team (unless you share any personal, abusive or offensive content). 

We welcome uncomfortable and controversial ideas, but personal, abusive or offensive content will not be tolerated and Clever Together will contact you if this is the case. Clever Together work independently and will not share instances when they have had to contact users.

How will the Big Chat be moderated?

This online workshop is being facilitated by the independent team at Clever Together. In order to facilitate the conversation, the team may need to:

    Merge some ideas that have similar content. When two ideas are merged, all votes and comments are transferred to the new idea and the title may be reworded to better capture its essence.

    Split some ideas that contain discuss multiple topics in one post. If your post contains more than one idea, the facilitation team may choose to break the post up into multiple posts.

    Deal with inappropriate contributions. If contributions are reported to the facilitators as being inappropriate or offensive, the moderators may remove an idea or comment. (If a facilitator has made any changes to your idea or comment, you will be sent an automated response to explain what has happened: this email will be sent by the system and we will not know who you are.)

    Clever Together work independently and will not share instances when they have had to contact users.

    The platform is intended to be open and transparent. No comments will be removed because moderators do not like them. They will only be removed if they are deemed abusive or offensive.

    If you do not like a comment or idea, just hit the thumbs down button!

    If you see a post that causes you concern, please hit the report button to let the facilitators know.

How is the Big Chat analysed?

All contributions, no matter how large or small, will be read and analysed by Clever Together. They will then use qualitative thematic analysis to identify key themes and trends. Clever Together will produce a summary report to represent the views from the online conversation, highlighting main areas of discussion and strength of opinion. These will then be used by the Lancashire and South Cumbria New Hospitals Programme to help inform the plans.

What are the rules of participation?

The rules are simple:

    Personal comments - either naming individuals, or comments which make identifying individuals possible - should not be made and will be taken down by Clever Together, the site moderators.

    Abusive or offensive content will not be tolerated. Clever Together will contact you if this is the case.

Who can I contact to learn more about this work?

If you want to keep up to date with the latest on the programme, please visit the New Hospitals Programme website.

Who can I contact if I am having difficulty with this website?

The platform is provided by our independent partners, Clever Together. If you are having difficulty using the platform, or experience any problems, please email them directly at - they will respond promptly.

If you would like to know more about Clever Together, please visit the Clever Together website.                         .  

What will you do with my personal data?

We will only use your personal data in relation to this conversation. It will never be passed on to parties not involved in the project and will never be used for any other purpose. We will delete personal data we hold about you within 30 days of project completion.

This platform is covered by Clever Together's privacy policy. Clever Together is the data controller for all information you share. You may request deletion of your data by emailing at any time.                                                                                      

What are you doing to involve those without access to digital technology?

The Big Chat provides us with a way to listen to views from our staff, patients and stakeholders. We will use it to record feedback we receive both offline and online. This technology gives us an ability to reach out digitally to a lot of people at once and to collate and handle the information they offer to us at pace and scale.

You can also share your views by writing to us at: The Big Chat, New Hospitals Programme, Croston House, Lancashire Enterprise Business Park, Leyland, PR26 6TR.  

We are also reaching out through local voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise sector organisations and HealthWatch, who we are commissioning to reach out, listen to and record the views and opinions of the groups in our local community who are likely to be most affected by changes to hospital facilities. We have also commissioned opinion research polling to establish the opinions of a fully representative sample of the public to enable us to hear from people who would normally not engage with an official process (many of whom will be digitally excluded).

We would normally carry out face-to-face events and workshops to ask staff and the public about their hopes, fears and expectations of the programme (including those without digital access), but these activities are currently limited in line with Covid-19 guidance. We are currently looking at new ways to gather feedback, including some face to face activities if Covid guidance allows.