Milton Keynes’ healthcare may be subject to two simultaneous reviews at present, but these are hardly the first examples of bureaucrats looking to overhaul the city’s health system.
The most ambitious scheme was Healthier Together, which aimed to combine five different hospitals – Bedford, Kettering, Luton & Dunstable, Milton Keynes and Northampton. This was scrapped in 2013, but only after costing £2.2million.
At the same time there were proposals to merge both Bedford and Milton Keynes hospitals into a single trust. This too was scrapped in 2013, but it coincided with various senior figures moving from Bedford to MK, including chief executive Joe Harrison.
In recent months Bedford Borough Council has independently launched its own health review, aimed at staving off any services being closed as a result of pooling resources with Milton Keynes.
And the team behind the current MK and Bedford Healthcare Review were forced into a humiliating climbdown in June, after announcing plans to close Bedford’s maternity unit – only to backtrack days later.