Bedford mayor discovers NHS restructuring programme has so far cost £22million

Dave Hodgson revealed the figure after making a Freedom of Information (FOI) request
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Speaking during the latest full council meeting at Bedford Borough Council, he confirmed he ONLY received the figures on the day of the meeting - 68 days after requesting them.

The response to his request for the final budget position for 2018/19 and the budget for 2019/20 for the new Integrated Care System (ICS) only materialised after he submitted an FOI request, due to a failure to provide it previously.

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And Mayor Dave was told the ICS’s budget was £10.7million for 2018/19, and £11.6million for 2019/20.

Mayor Dave HodgsonMayor Dave Hodgson
Mayor Dave Hodgson

He said: “It shouldn’t take an FOI request for me or anyone else to get an answer to the simple question of how much the new Integrated Care System is costing us all.

“Now we know the answer, and it’s a lot. With so much public money being spent on another NHS reorganisation, it is crucial that it is run with more transparency and accountability.”

The ICS called BLMK joins together hospitals, health providers, ambulance trusts and councils in Beds, Luton and Milton Keynes in the hope of providing more "joined-up" care for patients.

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The idea is that health and social care can be improved yet cash can be saved by pooling resources.

Milton Keynes Council is also a partner in the ICS and its leader Pete Marland said of the £22million revelation: "What do we have to show for it? Very, very little."

He added: "The aim of intergrating services to make them better is one we can all agree with. But we could have done so much more, and faster, had local partners just been allowed to get on with it."

Last month it was revealed BLMK was seeking a new independent chairperson and planning to pay them £40,000 a year for working just one and a half days a week.

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A source from a partner organisation said at the time: “Millions and millions of NHS funding, time and effort has been lost to perpetual reviews that achieve nothing. Any potential improvement ideas have been lost to a maze of jargon, a layer of tone deaf NHS administrators and an army of expensive consultants, all competing to justify their next expensive road to nowhere.

“Even most people who are close to this have lost track of all the structures and what they are supposed to be doing."

NHS chiefs insist local health services can provide better and more joined-up care for patients when different organisations work together as an ICS.