Government backing for the merger between Bedford Hospital and Luton & Dunstable Hospital provides ‘certainty’ for clinicians but there remains an ongoing need to invest in Bedford Hospital’s facilities, according to Cllr Roger Rigby.
Last week Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced £850m to upgrade facilities at 20 hospitals across England, including £99.5m of funding for Luton & Dunstable. This will provide a new block for critical and intensive care, as well as a new delivery suite and operating theatres.
The Chief Executives for both Bedford Hospital and Luton & Dunstable Hospital have confirmed that the Trusts’ merger, first announced in September 2017, can now proceed with key services including maternity, paediatrics and A & E remaining in Bedford.
Bedford Hospital’s Three Year Plan, covering 2019 – 2021, reaffirms the need to modernise the site including upgrades to two theatres and day surgery. Whilst welcoming both the additional Government funding and the positive outcome for the merger, Cllr Rigby feels there is an ongoing need to fund the required works at Bedford Hospital. He said:
‘It’s great news for Bedford that the Government has backed the merger between Bedford Hospital and Luton & Dunstable Hospital. It provides certainty for staff and clinicians, and we have been promised key services will remain in our town.
'Nevertheless, Bedford Borough can expect an escalating demand for local hospital services with a growing elderly population and significant, ongoing house building. There is a need for Government to back Bedford Hospital with additional cash for upgraded facilities to meet these pressures and provide first rate patient care.’