Bedford Hospital is ‘not affected’

MBTC-Bedford Hospital South Wing. ENGPNL00120130508095221
MBTC-Bedford Hospital South Wing. ENGPNL00120130508095221

Promises have been made that Bedford Hospital is safe under the recent changes to the Care Bill.

MP for Bedford and Kempston Richard Fuller has received a guarantee from Health Minister Dr Daniel Poulter that changes to the Care Bill will not apply to the current review of healthcare services in Bedford.

Mr Fuller asked for the Minister’s assurances during the House of Commons debate Tuesday

Speaking after the debate on the Bill Richard said: “I want decisions on Bedford’s health services to be made by local people and I appreciate the Minister’s assurance that will be the case.

“Local councillors of all parties, the Mayor and I, have worked constructively over the past year to ensure the voice of local people is heard clearly on issues, such as the return of paediatric services to Bedford Hospital.”

Clause 119 of the Care Bill clarifies previous legislation for extreme cases where hospitals are failing by allowing a nationally appointed Special Administrator to consider the whole picture of local health provision when making recommendations.

During the debate, Richard intervened on the Minister to ask: “Let me make the Minister aware of a real and live example: the decision of Bedford and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Groups to look at their hospitals in an ongoing review.

“Will the Minister provide me with a hand-on-heart, job-on-the-line assurance that these powers will not be used in that review?

Dr Daniel Poulter replied: “I can assure [him] absolutely that these are locally driven reviews of clinical services – driven by local commissioners, clinically led and absolutely nothing to do with the TSA process which we are discussing today.

“Any scaremongering that is taking place locally is, frankly, outrageous and to the detriment of the hard work that local professionals are doing to design the right health care services.”