Over recent weeks public attention has concentrated on the models for hospital services which have emerged from the healthcare review, and the potential impact on local services.
I agree with Richard Fuller MP, who wrote in the T&C last week, that there is a new confidence at Bedford Hospital – this arises from the significant improvements in quality over the year.
While we receive fantastic support from local people, I can understand people’s anxiety as all options are considered in an open and transparent way.
Everybody wants a sustainable local health service, and Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) has said publicly that it will look at other models too and any changes will be subject to full public consultation at some point in the future.
I want to reassure readers of two things in particular:
1. Our services being provided at Bedford are safe and of high quality - the Care Quality Commission has recognised that, both in its last inspection and also in its recent assessment of all NHS Trusts.
2. We have a clinical strategy for the future that improves services for local people.
Delivering healthcare that is safe and sustainable and meets the needs of our growing and ageing population means working with GP and community services to provide more integrated care.
Our community diabetes service is a great example of how we use our specialist knowledge to support diabetic patients in GP surgeries and care homes to better manage their condition and reduce admissions to hospital.
We are investing in new services, for example, a £3million investment to make us the bowel cancer screening centre for Bedfordshire with an expanded endoscopy suite.
We have close links with several hospitals, but none more so than Addenbrooke’s. We now have a number of joint consultants working with our local teams to deliver specialist care in Bedford, such as for cancer, neurology and specialist paediatrics and further developing this relationship will be part of the future for the hospital.
Finally, people often ask me why there isn’t more coverage of all the good work that the hospital does. Well here is an opportunity for you to write to me (copy in the local MPs, the Mayor, the BCCG and the newspapers) and tell us about your experiences at the hospital.