Stakeholder update on the merger of Bedford Hospital and Luton and Dunstable Hospital

Good progress has been made with the plans to merge Bedford Hospital and the Luton & Dunstable Hospital.
Bedford and L&D hospital logos

David Carter (Chief Executive of Luton & Dunstable Hospital) and Stephen Conroy (Chief Executive of Bedford Hospital) have provided the following update on the merger of Bedford Hospital and Luton & Dunstable Hospital. 

Good progress has been made with the plans to merge Bedford Hospital and the L&D Hospital since our last Stakeholder Newsletter. You will be aware that the capital funding bid for the L&D Hospital has now been confirmed.  This merger has always been reliant on the capital funding bid approval in order to realise the full benefits of the proposed plans.  
The approved £99.5m of funding means the L&D can plan to proceed expeditiously the delivery of a new 5 storey acute services block at the Luton site to enable urgent replacement of some of the site’s most outdated estate. This will make a real significant difference to patient and staff experience by delivering new facilities for critical care, maternity services, the level 3 neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) and operating theatres.  
Bedford Hospital’s Three Year Operational Plan highlights a number of planned investments to the site which includes a new CT scanner and a new Learning and Education Centre for students and staff. In addition, there are also plans to develop services at Bedford through a number of proposed capital investment projects (Children’s A&E, Theatre upgrades etc.).  These will be more achievable to fund as an integrated Foundation Trust in financial surplus.   
  
Merger timescales 
Both Trusts will be working towards 1 April 2020 to merge officially. The principle supporting the merger is that it will be a clinically led integration and the coming together of teams and one management structure will take time and follow due process process. On April 2020 there will be one Trust Board and a change of the Trust name to Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. 

New Shadow Board announced 
The Shadow Board will start meeting from November 2019 and will provide an important role in considering matters affecting the new Foundation Trust. It will make recommendations to the two existing Trust Boards as they retain their statutory responsibilities until the merger is completed. They will concentrate on specific areas relating to the merger:

  • Arrangements to ensure that the transaction is viable and safe on Day One;
  • Matters related to the new organisation such as communication and branding;
  • Any major capital transactions or contracts with third parties of either hospital that extended significantly beyond 1st April 2020. 

The Board consists of Executive Directors and Non-Executive Directors (detailed below). In addition to this structure, Kandarp Thakkar, Director of Clinical Service Improvement (from Bedford) will lead the clinical integration and service development during and post-merger and Damian Reid, Director of Finance, and Fiona MacDonald, Director of Workforce and Organisational Development (both from Bedford) will be central to developing the strategic capability of the Trust post-merger. There is a commitment to integrated leadership within the new Trust that will include Executive presence across both hospital sites. 
 
Strong clinical leadership is vital to ensure a successful clinically led Integrated Trust. On establishment the new Board will have joint Medical Directors which includes one from each hospital site. The Council of Governors will increase to include five public governors from Bedford Borough (and surrounding counties), six Bedford Hospital staff and an appointed Governor from Bedford Borough Council to ensure balanced representation across the new Foundation Trust geography. 
 
Next steps  
A series of Stakeholder/Public Briefing sessions are planned for early December to create opportunities for the Executive Teams to update you on the progress of the merger and more importantly for you to ask any questions you might have. Full details of these sessions will be confirmed in the next Stakeholder Newsletter in November. 
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