£10m Luton investment part of improved mental health strategy for Bedfordshire

It is part of wider investment and modernisation in the county

By Reporter
Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 3:59 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 4:00 pm

The public are being asked for their views on inpatient mental health care across the county, including £10m to redevelop services in Luton.

NHS partners believe that care can be improved across Bedford, Central Bedfordshire and Luton through a programme that also includes building £60m new mental health hospital at Bedford Health Village.

Care is currently provided across four sites – five including London – and includes standalone, isolated units at Oakley Court in Leagrave, Luton and Townsend Court in Houghton Regis.

Have your say on the proposals

The vision is to move to two centres of excellence – Bedford Health Village and the Luton Centre for Mental Health adjacent to the Luton and Dunstable Hospital site.

The new hospital in Bedford would also provide the first long-term inpatient site for children and young people in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes.

Partners believe the changes would benefit people needing mental health care and support by providing improved environments that reflect the needs of service users and staff and by providing more joined-up care through closer links with physical and community mental health services.

The proposals would also mean adults from Bedford who need to be admitted for hospital care could be admitted to the new hospital built on Bedford Health Village, adults from Luton would be admitted to Luton and adults from Central Bedfordshire would be admitted to the facility closest to home.

Development of community mental health services is also underway and includes working with partners to prevent more people from needing to be admitted in the first place.

Programme partners are East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) and Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (BLMK CCG).

Richard Fradgley, ELFT’s executive for integrated care, said: "We want to develop community and inpatient mental health services that deliver the best possible outcomes for the children and young people, adults and older adults that we serve."

A Case for Change document has been produced explaining why the partners think the programme would be a good idea – and the public are now being asked for their views before the programme is taken forward.

Richard Alsop, BLMK CCG Director of Commissioning, Contracting and Transformation, said: “We think this is the right thing to do but a vital part of this process is listening to service users, carers, partners and other members of the public. This is your NHS and we want to hear your views.

“Bringing mental health inpatient beds back to Bedford Borough is a priority for BLMK CCG, and we welcome the plans from ELFT.

“We are keen to hear the views of people with lived experience of mental health services, carers and the public as we continue to refine the plans.”

For more information visit the East London NHS Foundation Trust website.