Breaking news: funding approved for Bedford and L&D hospitals merger

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Bedford Hospital entrance

The Department of Health and Social Care has approved £99.5m of capital funding for NHS projects in Bedfordshire, including the merger of Bedford and Luton & Dunstable hospitals.

Stephen Conroy, Chief Executive at Bedford Hospital said, “This is wonderful news for patients and staff in Bedfordshire and Luton and allows for planning for the merger of the two hospitals to progress including the implementation of Bedford Hospital’s Three Year Plan.”

Both trusts at each hospital said they welcomed what they called “much-needed investment” that would support “our ambition to continue to provide the best possible care to our diverse communities at a time of rapid housing and population growth and increasing demand for health services.”

MP for Bedford and Kempston, Mohammad Yasin has also welcomed the news, adding: “This news will be welcomed by staff at both trusts who have faced uncertainty for some time over the proposed merger.

“We have been told that this merger is the only way to secure vital services in Bedford and yet funding to deliver it has been repeatedly turned down by the Government.

“I am delighted that after much lobbying, this funding has now been secured.

“I am awaiting to hear further details about what this will mean for patients and will continue to fight not only for all services to be retained in Bedford, but for an enhancement in provision in line with our growing population.”

North East Bedfordshire MP, Alistair Burt agrees: “I am delighted for the staff at both hospitals and those who have put so much expertise into the plans to safeguard the health services for Bedfordshire.

“This announcement will ensure both the long planned merger goes ahead, and that the three year NHS plan locally is implemented.

“The case was regularly made with Ministers, particularly during the last twelve months, and I am pleased the absolute commitment by the Government to the NHS has been demonstrated so quickly by the Prime Minister’s new administration.”

However, Cathy Jones, Deputy Chief Executive at Luton & Dunstable University Hospital added that most of the funds would be used to deliver a new five storey acute services block at Luton & Dunstable University Hospital (L&D).

“This will make a real difference to patient and staff experience by delivering new facilities for critical care, maternity services, the level 3 neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) and operating theatres,” she said.

This is a breaking news story, more to follow…