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Bedford Hospital

 

Mayor and Councillors Question Transparency of Major Review Affecting Future of Bedford Hospital

 

The transparency behind a major review of local health services, that could affect the future of Bedford Hospital, was questioned by the Mayor and councillors at Bedford Borough Council’s Full Council Meeting this week (20th July).

 

Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP) are being put together across the country to look at how local healthcare will delivered in the future. This is a separate process from the Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes Healthcare Review by the Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Groups, which proposed a reduction in services at Bedford Hospital which would bring an end to obstetrics services, including maternity, in Bedford. The Healthcare Review is currently ‘paused’ with the future direction still unknown.

 

At Wednesday night’s Full Council meeting councillors questioned why those in charge of the Sustainability & Transformation Plan failed to consult with the Mayor and local councillors about what impact changes to healthcare in Bedford Borough will have on local residents. They also questioned NHS England’s decision to not invite representatives Bedford Borough Council to discuss these plans at a special meeting taking place this Friday despite inviting Central Bedfordshire and Luton Borough councils.  Additionally, Councillors asked whether the Bedford and Milton Keynes Healthcare Review, which proposes reducing services at Bedford Hospital, has been scrapped or will form the basis of the STP for Bedfordshire.

 

Mayor of Bedford Borough Dave Hodgson said: "The threat to services at Bedford Hospital has dragged on for years, causing uncertainty and anxiety for patients and staff. We have challenged this threat, and commissioned a report which showed that a sustainable model for Bedford Hospital can be achieved alongside the retention of vital services such as A & E, children’s care and maternity services.

 

Across all parties on the council there is real concern that Bedford Borough is being excluded from much of the crucial STP process. This is denying input on local health and social care services from this community and from the Council as provider of social care.

 

‘We laid out our concerns in the hope that NHS decision makers will now begin engaging properly with Bedford Borough in the task of producing plans for a successful future for Bedford Hospital and for all health and social care services.”

 

Portfolio Holder for Public Health Councillor Louise Jackson echoed the Mayor’s concerns – "The Healthcare Review and STP teams have inserted and removed core hospital services from their plans at will. This uncertainty impacts on staff morale; recruitment and retention; and patient confidence and must not be allowed to continue. We’ve put forward a viable alternative plan, yet Bedford Borough Council has been met with dismissive responses and closed doors at every turn. We will not stand for this outrageous lack of transparency."

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