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Mayor Dave Responds to Bedford Hospital Merger Announcement

September 13, 2017 8:00 PM

Bedford HospitalCommenting on today's announcement that A&E, maternity and paediatrics services will stay at Bedford Hospital, under plans for the merger of Bedford with Luton and Dunstable Hospital, Mayor Dave Hodgson said:

"We've been fighting for years to remove the threat to A&E, maternity and paediatrics at Bedford Hospital, and today's announcement commits to keeping those services. There are still questions to be answered and we await the details of the business case.

What residents need is to know that vital hospital services will be there locally when they or their loved ones need them. For the first time, NHS decision-makers are committing to ensuring that those services will be there.

There must be no backsliding over these assurances. We need those services here in full, not reduced versions of them - and we need them here for good. If these arrangements do safeguard services, I will do all I can to make them work.

It is thanks to the passion and tenacity of all those who have fought to save Bedford Hospital as we know it that previous downgrade attempts have failed. So I want to thank everyone who has supported the campaign to save Bedford Hospital services.

Huge credit is due to Bedford Hospital staff for the way they have maintained high standards of care, even with threats of cuts and closures hanging over their heads.

Bedford Hospital staff deserve the certainty that is so long overdue to them, and we need to make sure they get it over the coming weeks.

Government and NHS reviews which have looked at downgrading Bedford Hospital and taking key services away have dragged on for seven years and cost over £10 million.

So it's sad that the recognition that services like A&E, full maternity and paediatrics must stay in Bedford has come so late when it was so obvious for this growing population, but it's good news that finally it seems we are getting there."