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No Births, No Beds: Commissioners Select 'Devastating' Preferred Options for Bedford Hospital

July 25, 2014 8:40 PM
Originally published by Dave Hodgson - Mayor of Bedford Borough

Bedford HospitalTwo proposals for a massive, permanent downgrading of Bedford Hospital have been identified by NHS Commissioners as preferred options under their ongoing health review. The two models for future care both involve major cuts across all services including an end to all maternity and dedicated children's services in Bedford. The move comes in spite of the hospital's high safety rating and the growing local population.

Both options would mean no more births in Bedford, while one of the two would mean the removal of all beds from Bedford Hospital, with no in-patient care. Mayor Dave Hodgson, who has fought efforts to strip out vital local services from Bedford over many years, has condemned the plans as representing a 'devastating' future for local patients.

Commenting, Mayor Dave Hodgson said: "These appalling plans leave Bedford hospital facing a future with no births, and no beds. They will force young children, the elderly and the seriously ill to travel long distances to access vital services at hospitals rated as less safe than Bedford. They represent a devastating future for local patients, and for our community as a whole.'

"At every step, Commissioners have shown their determination to inflict an appalling downgrade on our hospital. The only way we will beat these plans is to be even more determined in opposing them. That's why I am calling for everyone who cares about the future of our hospital to stand together and fight this. As a community we simply cannot afford to lose this battle."

Last week saw the short listing of five options for service cuts across Bedford and Milton Keynes, including two models representing a massive downgrade for Bedford. In slides presented to a 'Stakeholder Forum' this week, those two models were identified as far and away the Commissioners' highest scoring options following an evaluation process. The proposal for Bedford to become an 'urgent care centre' scored 6 points, with an 'integrated care centre' scoring 7 points. None of the other three shortlisted options are awarded any more than 3 points.

The two models would see services at Milton Keynes continue largely unchanged, with the proposals based on the idea that local patients could travel to access them there or elsewhere. This is despite the fact that this will delay Bedford Borough residents' access to emergency services by up to 30 minutes or more, and the fact that hospitals regulator the CQC rates services at Milton Keynes lower than those at Bedford and at greater risk of not being safe, effective and high quality.

You can show your support for the campaign to save Bedford Hospital by signing Mayor Dave's petition here: www.savebedfordhospital.org.uk