A proposed merger of Luton & Dunstable and Bedford Hospitals was formally announced today.
Luton Trust Boards of both hospitals have agreed to a proposal to merge both hospitals and form a single NHS Foundation Trust.
This will have one management team delivering a full range of services, including retaining key services such as A&E, Maternity and Paediatrics at both sites.
A L&D Hospital spokesman said: “The proposals to improve the L&D site form an important part of this plan.
“The capital funding for the development of a new ‘hot block’ on the L&D site will need to be endorsed by NHSI alongside the approval of the merger itself.
“The hot block is necessary to upgrade the existing maternity, NICU, theatres and critical care facilities.”
According to the trusts, the two hospitals already work closely together in various clinical services and there is also a strong overlap in the catchment areas the hospitals serve.
The spokesman added: “A merger between the two hospitals is a logical next step in collaborative working.”
Over the coming months the chief executives of both Trusts along with their board members will be taking forward the plans and engaging with local stakeholders and staff, with a view to submitting a full business case in December 2017.
The proposal is subject to the business being approved by NHS Improvement and NHS England. Should this be granted, it is the intention to have a joint board in place by April 2018.
David Carter, Acting Chief Executive at Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust also commented: “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.”