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Further Delay Prolongs Review Determining Hospital's Future Into 2017

April 23, 2016 9:30 AM

Bedford HospitalThe Bedfordshire Health Services Review, which has placed the future of key services at Bedford Hospital under threat, has announced a further delay in its programme, causing an even more prolonged period of uncertainty and concern for patients and staff.

The announcement comes shortly after news of the spiralling cost of the review, which has reached at least £4.5 million.

The delay pushes back the review's forecast for the date of the start of public consultation to 'late November/December' of this year, with a decision now predicted to be taken around March 2017. The reason given for the delay is that more time is required 'for clinicians to reach an agreement on recommendations'.

In its submission to consultation on the review back in December 2014, Bedford Hospital itself stated that "The clinical body of the Trust entered the process understanding that all options were open only to be told time and again by MKFT (Milton Keynes Foundation Trust) clinicians that the outcome was certain and that Bedford would lose out." It also stated that "There remains huge cynicism amongst the senior clinicians in the hospital about the perceived intent of the Bedford and Milton Keynes Review".

Commenting, Mayor Dave Hodgson said: "Yet another delay for this flawed review means more uncertainty for local patients and hospital staff. They have been treated appallingly throughout in this process. The review has never given a good reason for trying to impose a joint 'solution' for Bedford and Milton Keynes hospitals. So, the fact that doctors across the two areas cannot agree a way forward is no surprise.'

"There is real concern that minds are made up about the future for Bedford Hospital. Local patients and staff deserve better than a review which just rolls on at massive public cost until they can impose the answer they want."