Bedford Hospital is facing a “brutal dismantling” of services, Mayor Dave Hodgson has warned.
His comment comes as Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group reveals five options for the future of Bedford and Milton Keynes hospitals put forward by the Healthcare Review.
None of the options support both hospitals continuing with a full A&E department, with the worst case scenario seeing Bedford Hospital becoming an “immediate urgent care centre” with no beds.
The mayor said the borough faces a “brutal dismantling of Bedford Hospital as we know it”, and called for the proposals to be fought “every step of the way”.
He said: “This shortlist confirms the Commissioners’ commitment to a severe downgrade of local hospital services. This flies in the face of the growing local population and the regulator CQC’s assessment of the quality of Bedford’s services compared to other hospitals.
“It also shows they are ignoring the feedback they have received from the public under this multi-million pound review, and the devastating effect these plans would have on the entire community across Bedford borough.”
According to BCCG documents an immediate urgent care centre, formed of an “integrated outpatient, primary, community and social care hub”, would serve a population of 50,000-100,000.
Bedford Hospital’s website states: “The [A&E] department serves a catchment area with a population of 271,000 people from north and mid Bedfordshire.”
A BCCG spokesman said: “There is, of course, a great deal of concern about possible changes to local health services but the Healthcare Review is still ongoing and it would be wrong of us to pre-empt its recommendations.
“The review team is modelling these five hospital scenarios in more detail but any decision about which options to take to consultation lies with Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes CCGs and will only be taken once we have received the review’s report.
“We will take time to consider the review’s recommendations and reflect on patient, public and clinical opinion before deciding what models to consult on.”