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At a meeting of Bedford Borough Council on Wednesday (20th July) Councillor Louise Jackson, Portfolio Holder for Public Health, spoke out about fears that a second review into public health and hospital services in the area was once again ignoring the views of the politicians and public involved.

The Sustainability and Transformation Plan, announced in January this year, has now linked Bedford Hospital, Milton Keynes Hospital and Luton & Dunstable Hospital into a ‘footprint’ including the respective councils in the area. It produced its first draft proposals on 30th June, but leading members of the Borough Council have not been allowed to see it.

Louise said: “I am told that the draft submission for the overall plan was not for sharing, and neither the STP Programme Board nor NHS England have provided me with a copy.”

The now suspended Bedford & Milton Keynes Healthcare Review, which put forward unpopular proposals in June including a hospital model for Bedford with greatly reduced maternity and paediatric services is now a ‘work-stream’ of the STP. The STP is led locally by Pauline Philip, who is Chief Executive of Luton & Dunstable Hospital, and is keen to expand the services there. 

At the Full Council meeting it was also revealed that NHS England had not invited representatives from either Bedford Borough Council or Milton Keynes Council to discuss the STP plans at a special meeting taking place this Friday, despite inviting representatives from Central Bedfordshire and Luton Borough councils.  The Chief Executive had written to ask why this had happened.

Louise continued; “The report we commissioned on Bedford Hospital proved it is possible to retain full maternity services and paediatrics, and additionally takes into account the fact that NHS services and social care services need to work together in order for both to be affordable to the public purse. Are the STP considering this option? If not, why not? It is outrageous that elected members appear to have been shut out of these discussions. After wasting millions on the unworkable Bedford & Milton Keynes Healthcare Review, the Sustainability and Transformation Plan now risks delivering a proposal that will also deservedly gain no public or political support.”

Shut Out - Councillors told key NHS plan ‘not for sharing’

At a meeting of Bedford Borough Council on Wednesday (20th July) Councillor Louise Jackson, Portfolio Holder for Public Health, spoke out about fears that a second review into public health...

Like others across the whole country, Bedford & Kempston Labour Party members are shocked and devastated by the tragic news of the horrific and fatal attack of Jo Cox MP.

Ian Nicholls, Chair of B&K Labour Party, has sent condolences to her family on our behalf. 

Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party said:

“The whole of the Labour Party and Labour family - and indeed the whole country - will be in shock at the horrific murder of Jo Cox today.

Jo Cox had a lifelong record of public service and a deep commitment to humanity. She worked both for Oxfam and the anti-slavery charity, the Freedom Fund, before she was elected last year as MP for Batley and Spen – where she was born and grew up.

Jo was dedicated to getting us to live up to our promises to support the developing world and strengthen human rights – and she brought those values and principles with her when she became an MP.

Jo died doing her public duty at the heart of our democracy, listening to and representing the people she was elected to serve. It is a profoundly important cause for us all.

Jo was universally liked at Westminster, not just by her Labour colleagues, but across Parliament.

In the coming days, there will be questions to answer about how and why she died. But for now all our thoughts are with Jo’s husband Brendan and their two young children. They will grow up without their mum, but can be immensely proud of what she did, what she achieved and what she stood for.

We send them our deepest condolences. Whilst we have lost a much loved colleague, a real talent and a dedicated campaigner for social justice and peace, they have lost a wife and a mother, and our hearts go out to them.”

Tom Watson MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party said: 

“The whole of the Labour movement is devastated at Jo's death. We have lost a colleague so young who had much more to contribute to public life. She was our future.

It is hard to comprehend how a compassionate, principled and beautiful person can be taken away from us so cruelly. It's even more devastating because she was doing what she did best - serving her constituents.

We grieve her loss. Our love and prayers are with Brendan and Jo's family.”

 

Jo Cox MP

Like others across the whole country, Bedford & Kempston Labour Party members are shocked and devastated by the tragic news of the horrific and fatal attack of Jo Cox MP....

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Last week Bedford Borough Council published the cross-party commissioned PWC report into the future of Bedford Hospital. The report shows there is an alternative way forward to the unpopular options put forward by the now suspended Healthcare Review, which would mean a greatly reduced maternity unit & loss of paediatric services. The proposals from the Council commissioned report retain full maternity services and paediatrics, and additionally take into account the fact that NHS services and social care services need to work together in order for both to be affordable to the public purse.

Louise_Jackson.jpgCouncillor Louise Jackson (left), Labour’s Portfolio Holder for Public Health at Bedford Borough, has now written directly to the Chief Executive of NHS England Simon Stevens asking him to consider the alternative proposals, and to bring to a conclusion the lengthy review which has caused uncertainty for the hospital, which nevertheless scored highly in a recent Care Quality Commission inspection.

Cllr Jackson was Labour’s spokesperson on Health at the start of the subsequently abandoned Healthier Together programme in 2012, which sought to configure Acute Services across five hospitals. She also served on the committees scrutinising the paediatric services review which followed the decision to withdraw junior doctors from Riverbank ward in 2013. At that time Louise met with representatives of the Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health in Parliament to discuss how Bedford might deliver a 21st century, safe and sustainable paediatric service. As the paediatric review morphed into a wider healthcare review across Bedford and Milton Keynes, following intervention from Monitor and the Trust Development Authority, Louise continued to challenge this in her scrutiny role. Labour Councillors Anthony Forth and Mohammed Masud now continue to scrutinise the review at committee level.

Louise said: “I am by no means opposed to change, if that change is positive and will improve health outcomes. None of my experience, however, led me to believe that the direction of travel was likely to deliver a sustainable future for either Milton Keynes or Bedford hospital. Neither do I believe that the changes being considered over this interminable period of uncertainty would improve health outcomes for Bedford Borough residents.”

The Sustainability Transformation Plan, announced in January this year, has now linked Bedford Hospital, Milton Keynes Hospital and Luton & Dunstable Hospital into a ‘footprint’ along with the respective councils in the area.

Louise continued; “I was cautiously optimistic about this process, and hoped it might present opportunities for mainstreaming prevention, delivering care in the right place at the right time, reducing delayed discharge and, ultimately, moving towards the integration of Health and Social Care across the STP footprint and in conjunction with local Councils. It was deeply disappointing, therefore, to learn that the Healthcare Review was to continue as the acute work-stream of the STP, since it had never offered any indication that it would ever align with these important objectives.”

One reason cited for the Healthcare review’s suspension was ‘to ensure that the direction of travel was consistent with the developing Sustainability Transformation Plan’.

Louise added; “It is my belief that the review signally fails to align with the STP. Moving core services from Bedford Hospital is not transformational – certainly not in any positive sense. Given the very considerable recruitment difficulties faced by our local hospital in recent years – difficulties which are partially attributable to its uncertain future – I fail to see either how the review’s proposals secure the future of services such as paediatrics and A&E. I am assured by clinicians that the interdependencies of obstetrics, paediatrics and A&E cannot be underestimated. Moreover, at no time has an accurate travel time analysis demonstrated that accessibility to services will be assured whichever way services are divided.”

“ I would like now to add my voice to those of Mayor Dave Hodgson and Richard Fuller MP, and urge Simon Stevens  to abandon plans which so clearly contradict NHS England’s vision for a sustainable future for our health services. I hope too that the STP will now consider the very considerable benefits of a whole-system approach to the delivery of health and social care services, and that the Council’s proposals will be accepted as a serious contribution to this important process.”

 

Labour Councillors Campaign for Sustainable Future for Bedford Hospital & Social Care

Last week Bedford Borough Council published the cross-party commissioned PWC report into the future of Bedford Hospital. The report shows there is an alternative way forward to the unpopular options...

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