A merger between Bedford and Luton hospitals is set to go forward, with bosses reported to have secured funding.
The long-rumoured move was exclusively revealed by BedfordToday in September 2017.
Although there was initially some uncertainty about what this would mean for key services such as A&E, maternity and paediatrics, it is understood that all three services will continue at both sites.
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.
“This much-needed investment in the local area is welcomed by both Trusts, and supports 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. We will update all stakeholders with news as our plans develop over the coming months.”
Cathy Jones, deputy chief executive at Luton & Dunstable University Hospital, added, “This means we can proceed at pace with the delivery of a new 5 storey acute services block at Luton & Dunstable University Hospital (L&D) to enable urgent replacement of some of the site’s most outdated estate.
“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.
“Importantly, we now have the funding in place to realise the benefits of the planned merger between Bedford Hospital and the L&D and are able to plan for long-term investment on both sites.”
Mohammad Yasin, MP for Bedford and Kempston, said: “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 here 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.”
How the story has unfolded so far: