BEDFORD HOSPITAL MERGER WITH LUTON: Our guide to what the announcement means

Ben Raza’s guide to what is set to happen as a result of Tuesday’s announcement

Are there any guarantees about the future of A&E, maternity, and paediatric services in Bedford?

Yes – and no.

In the medium-term both sites will keep both services. Further ahead, Bedford chief executive Stephen Conroy admits he “does not have a crystal ball” but stressed that it was unlikely that either would close as both areas have growing populations and rapidly-growing elderly populations.

Why is Luton taking over Bedford and not vice-versa?

Luton is a foundation trust hospital, which means it has more financial flexibility.

This means it is quicker and easier to have a Luton takeover, even if both sides stress the move is being treated as a merger.

How much money will this move save?

The new trust will be breaking even by Year Two (Bedford is currently running at a deficit). By year five 
the surplus could reach £12million per year.

Does this mean an end to the years of healthcare reviews?

The Strategic Transformation Plan (STP) will continue. This means more joint working, and potentially more joint services, between Bedford, Luton and Milton Keynes.

Is this definitely happening?

Officially? No. The trust boards of both hospitals have to complete a business case, before the move goes before NHS Improvement, the Care Quality Commission, the Competition and Markets Authority, and various other bodies.

Realistically, it seems 
extremely likely.