The Trust serves a population of approximately 270,000 across Bedfordshire and surrounding areas (with a 900,000 catchment for vascular services). Its core local authority populations are Bedford Borough (160,000) and Central Bedfordshire (260,000). The Trust has over 2500 members of staff (making it the largest local employer in Bedford) and a current turnover of approximately £180m. Its main commissioner is Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group.
The hospital enjoys strong community support with over 200 volunteers at the Trust and over £9 million being raised by the independent Bedford Hospitals Charity over the past 10 years. The support from the charity has enabled the Trust, for example, to build a dedicated cancer centre, the Primrose unit.
The Trust has approximately 360 beds and provides a full range of acute services, with beds for Care of the Elderly, ENT, General Medicine, AAU, General Surgery, Gynaecology, Neonatal, Obstetrics, Oncology, Trauma and Orthopaedics, Paediatrics, Vascular Surgery, Breast Surgery and Urology.
There is a full Level 2 A&E Department, with a recently opened Ambulatory Emergency Care Unit. The Critical Care Complex provides both High Dependency and Intensive Care beds to a maximum capacity of 12 beds. Other clinical services include Cardiology, with pacing facilities in the coronary care unit; Dermatology and Plastic Surgery, including a Laser Treatment Centre.
The Radiology Department has one digital fluoroscopy room for barium and MSK work, ultrasound, digital mammography, DEXA scanning, a twin headed gamma camera, two multislice CT scanners and two 1.5 Tesla MRI scanners (including MRA). PACS went live in June 2007 and the hospital is now ‘film less’. Theatre 8 was redeveloped in 2010 as a vascular/interventional suite.
There are 9 operating theatres complemented by a full anaesthetic service and a consultant led pain service. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Endoscopy patients are treated in their own specialist units. The Ophthalmology service is now managed within the Trust’s facilities by Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
Notable service developments have included;
- The Primrose Centre for cancer patients opened at the end of 2003 and was recently redeveloped / extended (2016) following major fundraising by Bedford Hospital’s Charity, together with Macmillan Cancer Relief.
- A dedicated state of the art Endoscopy Unit opened in 2015 following £4m investment; the trust is the local bowel screening centre and the Unit has received full J.A.G accreditation.
- A Surgical Assessment Unit opened in 2012, receiving both A&E and GP referrals to general, vascular, urology and ENT surgery.
- Harpur and Elizabeth Wards provide purpose designed dementia friendly facilities and have been recognised with national awards.
- £7m redevelopment of Pathology Services was completed in January 2006. This laboratory building incorporates Haematology and Blood Transfusion, Chemical Pathology, Microbiology, Histopathology, Cytopathology and a Mortuary.
- The Pharmacy department was recently redeveloped including the installation of a high specification robot.
- For 2017 the Trust will be purchasing and installing a new MRI scanner (supported by the Hospital Charity)
There are strong existing clinical networks with Addenbrooke’s, for cancer, paediatrics, neurology, otoneurology (ENT), haematology and interventional. The trust supplies PCI (pertucaneous coronary intervention) services to Milton Keynes hospital. There are also network arrangements with the Luton & Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust for stroke, head and neck cancers and bowel cancer screening (Bedford is the hub for this service), and with The Lister (E&N Herts) for plastic surgery. Pathology services are provided by Viapath, a partnership with Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.
Gilbert Hitchcock House (known as North Wing) is located 2 miles north and provides Rehabilitation facilities incl physiotherapy as well as supporting a number of specialist clinics. Acute and Old Age Psychiatry services are provided by the East London Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.