Decision Maker

Richard Fuller MP

  • Member of Parliament

Member of Parliament for Bedford and Kempston


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Stop the closure and / or downgrade of Bedford Hospital

Dear All, Thank you for taking the time to make me aware of your concerns about the current review of health services in Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes and, more specifically, about the impact on services that might be provided at Bedford Hospital. The review has the positive aim of seeking improvements in both primary care (our local GPs) and in the quality of health outcomes for people who need to attend hospital. To be clear, none of the proposed options for the future of Bedford Hospital suggest that it should be closed. The review process is looking at a wide range of options and, as might be expected, some of the more extreme options have led to concerns. What is happening and why? The NHS across the country is changing in order to meet the needs of increasing populations, changed demographics and more effective ways of delivering care. Locally, Bedford and Milton Keynes Hospitals have been marked out by leading medical experts at the NHS as providers that will not, under their current models of care, be able to meet the demanding levels for care outcomes in future years. The two local GP-led commissioning groups of Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes have therefore undertaken to review the services provided locally and how they might be altered to provide the best quality of care for patients. This review is being conducted in parallel with the review of GP services. Full details of the review, including regular updates and information about each of the proposals entails is available at www.yourhealthinbedfordshire.co.uk. Proposals to change Accident and Emergency Provision Recent headlines have focused on the proposals about accident and emergency services at the two hospitals – Bedford and Milton Keynes. Laying out all potential options part way through a review, although exemplary disclosure, naturally raises concerns about some of the more extreme ideas. The GP-led group erred on the side of full openness and, on balance, I think they were right. Currently, the review is considering five theoretical models for hospital care. Two of these options have Bedford as a ‘major emergency centre’, providing similar services to its current provision; one option has Bedford as an ‘emergency centre’, providing similar services to now with the exception of emergency surgery (which only deals with a limited number of cases each year); a further option is very similar but without emergency surgery or an ITU; and the final option suggests Bedford could be an urgent care centre that would have an A&E, diagnostics and outpatient services but would not take in-patients. It is important to note that no decisions have been taken on whether any of these options will be taken up. I have been impressed with the positive changes at Bedford Hospital over the last year. Long standing concerns about the supervision of junior doctors have been addressed and a new model for providing improved safe and sustainable paediatric services has been implemented successfully. While the review is ongoing, I have suggested that Bedford Hospital should also consider whether, as an alternative, it could create a partnership with Addenbrooke’s Hospital to achieve the desired health outcomes. Such a partnership would enable Bedford Hospital to draw on the expertise of Addenbrooke’s in running services at Bedford Hospital. Addenbrooke’s is a trusted, high quality teaching hospital that would attract the recruitment of doctors to Bedford and help Bedford to provide quality care for local residents for many years to come. I am pleased to see that so many people care about what happens to our local hospital and have been motivated to get involved by signing this petition. If you have any particular concerns of your own or would like to discuss your thoughts on the issue, then please do contact me directly at richard.fuller.mp@parliament.uk. Though please note, I am only able to deal with correspondence from those who live in Bedford and Kempston. If you live outside this area please do contact your local MP; contact details can be found via http://findyourmp.parliament.uk. Yours sincerely, Richard Fuller MP

4 years ago