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30 October 2013
Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) is using its engagement with local people into the future of children’s health services in Bedford to consider a wider review of health services in Bedfordshire.
BCCG has been in discussion with three national NHS bodies – NHS England, Monitor and the Trust Development Agency – about its concerns over services in the area and how they can be secured for the long-term. This will include paediatric services and other Bedford Hospital Services in assessing how we best meet the needs of local people.
The GP-led commissioning group will make a decision about the next stage of the paediatric consultation at its governing body meeting on 6 November. This meeting will be held in public, at Bedford Corn Exchange.
BCCG chair, Sheila Childerhouse said: “We have spent the past two months listening to local people – parents and carers, clinicians, community groups and politicians – finding out what they want children’s healthcare to look like.
“It has become clear during this process that the hospital’s problems go beyond the paediatric department. The most recent CQC report showed failings elsewhere in the hospital that are of real concern to us; we also know that the hospital’s finances are under serious pressure.
“There is a commitment from the NHS nationally to assist us in taking a strategic look at health services in Bedfordshire. This is an opportunity to introduce major improvements to the quality of healthcare on offer in Bedford.
“Our aim is to ensure safe, high quality, local services. However, any changes resulting from the review will only take place with the full involvement of local people and clinicians – just as we have involved them in our paediatric consultation so far.”
The first phase of the consultation process – the pre-engagement phase – has just come to an end. During this period, BCCG met with more than 600 people at meetings and events across the county and more than 300 local people completed a questionnaire outlining their priorities for children’s healthcare in Bedford.
Ms Childerhouse said: “We are extremely grateful to patients, parents, carers and clinicians who have been helping us shape the future of children’s healthcare in Bedford. We want to continue to harness their views and expertise as we look more broadly at the future of Bedford Hospital.”
Stephen Conroy, acting chief executive at Bedford Hospital said: “Our priority is to provide high quality healthcare services for local people and we remain fully engaged in this process to secure sustainable service.”