1. ITV Report

A&E to remain at both sites under Bedfordshire hospital merger plans

Watch Sarah Byrd's report for ITV News Anglia above

Accident and Emergency and maternity services will remain at two Bedfordshire hospital sites, despite merger plans, bosses have insisted.

Under the proposals, Bedford Hospital and Luton and Dunstable University Hospital would form a single NHS Foundation Trust with a joint management team.

Bedford's chief executive, Stephen Conroy, said the plans would secure the future of his sites and ensure key services including A&E, maternity and paediatrics remained at both hospitals.

There were fears Bedford Hospital could lose its A&E - but bosses insist it will remain. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

“This is a really exciting time for patients and staff, as the opportunities presented to improve patient services is considerable.

"For example, the decision will mean that Bedford Hospital’s future is secured, after a turbulent and uncertain time and much speculation about core clinical services being removed.

"A&E, Maternity and Paediatric services will remain on both hospital sites."

– Stephen Conroy, Bedford Hospital chief executive.

If the proposals are approved by NHS Improvement and NHS England, the hospitals hope to have a joint board in place by April 2018. A full business case will be submitted to NHS chiefs in December 2017.

Both hospitals would retain their individual names under the umbrella of a new joint trust.

Bosses insist the move is a "logical next step in collaborative working", with the two hospitals already working closely on neonatal intensive care, stroke services and vascular surgery.

Luton and Dunstable Hospital. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

“As a single, larger organisation, with a single management team and delivering a full range of services on both hospital sites, we will have the opportunity to share expertise in order to improve services, improve the delivery of patient care and clinical pathways, and improve efficiency through economies of scale.”

– David Carter, Luton and Dunstable University Hospital