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18 July 2013
By 1 August, Bedford Hospital will no longer be able to provide inpatient or emergency care for children and young people up to the age of 19.
Children with planned surgery or medical procedures will be cared for by their Bedford consultant but at Milton Keynes Hospital or another neighbouring hospital.
In an emergency, ambulances will divert children to their next nearest hospital. Ambulances will stop bringing children to Bedford’s A&E unit from Monday 21 July.
Bedford Hospital is discouraging parents from bringing their children to A&E but any children or young people who do arrive in the department will be treated by staff and transferred to another hospital or referred back to their GP, if necessary.
By 1 August, there will be no short-stay facilities for observing or assessing children brought to A&E.
Families that have open-access to Riverbank Ward are being contacted directly by the hospital to develop personal care plans for their children.
Children’s day surgery, outpatient and maternity services are unaffected by these changes.
Meanwhile, Bedfordshire CCG is reminding parents to use their GP surgeries, Putnoe Walk-in Centre and the GP out-of-hours service for all non-emergencies.
· People concerned about how the changes may affect them should contact Riverbank Ward on 01234 730500.
· For non-emergency care:
- Ring your GP surgery; most are open 8.00am to 6.00pm
- Visit Putnoe Walk-in Centre, 93 Queen’s Drive, Bedford; open 8.00am-6.30pm
- Contact your GP out-of-hours service after 6.30pm. This number will be available on your GP surgery’s answerphone.