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Bedfordshire to move swiftly on merger

Merger could go ahead by April if regulators approve

Two Bedfordshire hospitals have set out an ambitious plan to merge by April.

Bedford Hospital Trust and Luton and Dunstable University Hospital Foundation are consulting staff and the public now. They will submit a business case in December to NHS regulators and the Competition and Markets Authority. The trusts hope for approval by April.

The promise of change has been hanging over Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes since the area’s sustainability and transformation plan (STP) called for more integration. The two hospitals say they already share many services and hope that the merger will remove inefficiencies.

The proposal explains that there are not enough doctors and nurses to deliver some specialist care across multiple sites, especially seven days a week. It is also hoped that the merger will permit better integration with community services.

The trusts say that the merger could save more than £13m in the first five years and will allow the trusts to bring services such as specialist cardiac imaging back into the county. It will also support patient choice in local care with a single booking process.

Further information

Bedford Hospital NHS Trust: Public summary: Proposal for Bedford Hospital NHS Trust and Luton & Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to merge

Bedford Hospital NHS Trust: Bedford Hospital NHS Trust and Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust plan for merger to improve patient care

Luton and Dunstable University Hospital: Proposed merger between Luton and Dunstable University Hospital and Bedford Hospital