City patients may be sent to other hospitals

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PATIENTS needing vital treatment could be sent to hospitals more than 20 miles away in a bid to save cash.

As part of an Acute Services Review, city Trust bosses are considering sharing facilities with hospitals in Bedford, Northampton, Kettering and Luton.

It would mean each hospital specialises in one or two services, such as gynaecology, cardiovascular surgery, or even maternity.

Patients needing specialist treatment would have the initial outpatient care in Milton Keynes but sent to the relevant hospital for the specialist treatment.

Already one councillor, Nigel Long, has expressed concerns about the plan and demanded more public consultation.

But the hospital insists patients would not suffer.

A spokesman said: “The review is in the earliest of stages. No firm decisions have been taken.

Patients will be at the centre of the review – we have involved LINks in our early discussions and have their full support at this stage. “Whatever the outcome, the offer to patients and taxpayers will be safe, sustainable and cost-effective services.”

The move towards specialist hospitals could mean Milton Keynes gains services in certain areas.

Hospital chief executive Mark Millar said: “Our objective will be to ensure the people of Milton Keynes have access to high quality care as locally as is safe and economic for it to be.”

He promised patients will be consulted and their “best interests” considered at all times.