The chief Executives of Bedford and Luton and Dunstable University hospitals have published a letter to public members outlining proposals for Bedford and Luton hospitals.

“Proposals have been agreed to explore a possible merger between Bedford Hospital and The Luton and Dunstable University Hospital to form one NHS Trust.

The two hospitals already work closely together in various clinical services such as Neonatal Intensive Care, vascular surgery and stroke services and there is a lot of synergy between the two organisations, with a strong overlap between catchment area, commissioners and ambulance service. A merger between the two hospitals is the logical next step in collaborative working and will provide the opportunity to share expertise in order to improve services, improve the delivery of patient care and improve efficiency through economies of scale.

The merger fully supports the work programme of the Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP) over the last 18 months and will ensure the region can provide more integrated health care for everyone.

Over the next three months the Chief Executives of both hospitals will be taking forward the plans, in consultation with staff, volunteers, patients and other local stakeholders, with a view to submitting a full business case in December 2017. The intention is for the official merger to take place in April 2018.

Under the umbrella of the new NHS Trust, both hospitals will retain their identity and individual names because they are a cherished part of the communities they serve.

This is a really exciting time for patients and staff and the opportunities the merger presents are considerable. As part of these proposals we are seeking endorsement for the hospital’s plans to re-develop the estate. The decision will also mean that Bedford Hospital’s future is secured, after a turbulent and uncertain time and much speculation about core services being closed. It will provide stability and will improve health and care services for all our patients across the whole of Bedfordshire.

We hope you are as excited by this news as we are. We will continue to keep you updated but if you have any queries, please email communications@bedfordshireccg.nhs.uk”