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Bedford Hospital NHS Trust and Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust plan for merger to improve patient care

September 13, 2017

The Trust Boards of Bedford Hospital NHS Trust (BH) and Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (L&D) have agreed to pursue proposals to merge both hospitals and form a single NHS Foundation Trust. This will have one management team and will deliver a full range of services on both sites. This includes retaining key services such as A&E, Maternity and Paediatrics at Bedford Hospital.

The two hospitals already work closely together in various clinical services such as Neonatal Intensive Care, Vascular surgery, Oral and Maxillofacial (OMF), Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) and Stroke services and there is a strong overlap in the catchment areas the hospital serve as well as shared links with commissioners, local councils and ambulance, community and mental health providers. A merger between the two hospitals is a logical next step in collaborative working.

A merger aligns with the strategic objectives of the Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP) and the proposal to pursue this change has the support of the BLMK STP and regulators, NHS Improvement.

Over the coming months the Chief Executives of both Trusts along with their Board members will be taking forward the plans and engaging with local stakeholders and staff, with a view to submitting a full business case in December 2017.

Under the umbrella of the new NHS Foundation Trust, both hospitals will retain their identity and individual names because they are a cherished part of the communities they serve.

Stephen Conroy, Chief Executive at Bedford Hospital NHS Trust said: “This is a really exciting time for patients and staff, as the opportunities presented to improve patient services is considerable. For example, the decision will mean that Bedford Hospital’s future is secured, after a turbulent and uncertain time and much speculation about core clinical services being removed. A&E, Maternity and Paediatric services will remain on both hospital sites. This decision will also provide stability and will be the driver to provide the best possible hospital services for all our patients across the whole of Bedfordshire”.

David Carter, Acting Chief Executive at Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust also commented, “As a single, larger organisation, with a single management team and delivering a full range of services on both hospital sites, we will have the opportunity to share expertise in order to improve services, improve the delivery of patient care and clinical pathways, and improve efficiency through economies of scale.”