Hospital’s future is still uncertain

Bedford Hospital south wing accident and emergency.
Bedford Hospital south wing accident and emergency.

A&E could still be downgraded at Bedford Hospital – and other health services may have to be decommissioned too.

The Bedfordshire & Milton Keynes Healthcare Review yesterday produced its latest progress report looking at the future of Bedford and Milton Keynes hospitals.

But Bedford Borough Mayor Dave Hodgson has slammed the latest report from the late-running review as ‘appalling’ and raising more questions than answers as the future of the hospitals remains unclear.

Both Bedford and Milton Keynes are currently ‘major emergency centres’, which provide 24/7 consultant-delivered A&E, with emergency surgery, acute medicine and inpatient paediatrics.

But the report, which is the latest stage of a £3.2 million review, proposes reducing one of the hospitals to an “integrated care centre with emergency centre”.

Mr Hodgson said: “It is appalling that this report has emerged over six months later than the review’s own deadline, with no explanation for the delay and the uncertainty caused for patients and staff,” he said.

“Even worse, after so much time and £3.2 million spent, the report raises more questions than answers.

“It recommends a major downgrade for either Bedford or Milton Keynes hospitals, but says further work is needed.

“So, Bedford Hospital continues to face the prospect of a potential major downgrade, despite a growing local population and improving standards of care.

“The only certainty is that the uncertainty continues for patients and staff, who continue to be treated with utter contempt.”

What do you think? Email your letters to the editor at editorial@timesandcitizen.co.uk