From today, Wednesday 1 April 2020, the new Foundation Trust caring for a population of around 620,000 people in and around Bedfordshire has come into operation, following the merger of Bedford Hospital NHS Trust and the Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is responsible for managing services at both Bedford and Luton with each individual hospital retaining its name and proud heritage.
The new integrated Trust will bring together a combined workforce of approximately 8,000 staff and will be the largest NHS employer in Bedfordshire. The new organisation has one Trust Board and continues to deliver a full range of services on both sites. This includes retaining key services such as A&E, Obstetrics-led Maternity and Paediatrics at Bedford.
The merger is incredibly important for the local health economy, but it is understandable that COVID-19 activity has naturally taken priority for the entire NHS. Providing consistent leadership within an integrated Trust is essential as we navigate through uncharted territory. The merger will help in building a more resilient workforce, working together as one Trust to provide the best care for our patients in very difficult circumstances.
The two hospitals already worked closely together for a number of years in various clinical services such as Neonatal Intensive Care, Vascular surgery, Oral and Maxillofacial (OMF), Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) and Stroke services. With strong overlap in the catchment areas the individual hospitals serve as well as shared links with commissioners, local councils and ambulance, community and mental health providers, a merger was the logical next step in collaborative working.
David Carter, Chief Executive at Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said,
“Today is a significant moment for healthcare in Bedfordshire, with the creation of a single NHS Foundation Trust to provide secondary care services for the people of Bedfordshire. The current global health crisis with COVID-19 (coronavirus) remains our initial priority for all staff across both hospital sites, but as a single, larger organisation we are able to create a more resilient workforce to provide the best possible patient care to the increasing population of Bedfordshire and beyond and also have more resilience to respond to the current COVID-19 situation. It has been a longer than anticipated journey to get to this point and we’re proud to have officially merged and are looking forward to achieving the ambitions we have for Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust as soon as we move out of these incredibly challenging times.”
To families of all our patients, we wanted to give a reminder that sadly, at both Bedford and the Luton & Dunstable Hospital, we are still unable to allow any visitors on site, unless there are exceptional circumstances, for example in maternity or children’s departments, or for those patients who are receiving palliative treatment at the end of their lives, on a case-by-case basis.
At Bedford changes are being made to support services and we would now ask that, from Saturday 6 June 2020, you contact the wards using the direct lines found here.
For the Luton & Dunstable, we are offering a dedicated Next of Kin helpline for family members who want to check up on their loved ones – please nominate one family member to call 01582 718884 between 8am and 6pm.