Councillor describes government funding bids as a “crazy” way to plan for public services

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Cllr Kay Burley

Having to bid for funding is a “crazy” way to plan – according to a frustrated Bedford borough councillor

And councillor Kay Burley (Labour, Kempston Central & East Ward) said that patients’ frustrations over delays are not being directed to the right people.

Councillor Burley’s comments came after a presentation on modernising in-patient mental health services in the county at yesterday’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Monday, June 6).

Richard Fradgley, director of integrated care at East London NHS Foundation Trust (EFLT) told the committee that progress is being made, but the Trust is waiting to see if its bid to join the National New Hospitals Programme list has been successful.

“This will be the source of capital departmental expenditure limit cover (CDEL), which we require for this development,” he said.

“We cannot proceed to finalising our pre-consultation business case before we have CDEL cover.”

Mr Fradgley explained there are several potential sources of CDEL, but the main one is via this programme.

Councillor Hilde Hendrickx (LibDems, Newnham Ward) said she assumed the programme would be oversubscribed.

Mr Fradgley replied that the trust had a “good” case for the funding.

“Not least because the trust is able to put a substantial amount of cash into the development,” he said.

Councillor Kay Burley (Labour, Kempston Central & East Ward) said there had been many meetings and discussions about the redevelopment of the Bedford North Wing site.

“Only to find out that the money is not available,” she said.

“The capital money is not there, and it just shows how ridiculous this financing of services is at the present time – it’s all done on a bid-basis.

“I think that’s really very disappointing, and I wouldn’t blame the general public who need to use this service, for being extremely disappointed and very upset that, once again, we are waiting for people to say yea or nay.

“It’s absolutely crazy, and not the right way to plan for any kind of public services.

“I sometimes think people’s anger and frustrations are not being directed in the right direction to those who can make these decisions, or change the way which the decisions are made,” she said.

by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter

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