Hospital twinning review may lead to a ‘de-coupling’

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A multi-million pound review into twinning the future of Milton Keynes and Bedford hospitals is likely to result in ... absolutely nothing, the Citizen can reveal.

Sources say healthcare review experts are already recommending the two hospitals be “de-coupled”.

Instead even more money could be spent looking at the possibilities of combinin g Milton Keynes hospital with Oxford and Bedford with Addenbrooke’s.

The news, though yet to be confirmed, has caused outrage from politicians.

City Labour health spokesman Nigel Long said: “This is nothing but a big dog’s dinner of a disaster.

“I want to know how much has been spent on this seemingly pointless review. This money would have been far better used in the hospital itself, where one ward is still closed due to financial restrictions.”

The future of MK Hospital has been debated at huge cost over the past three years.

First there was the £2.2 million Healthier Together programme to investigate whether five neighbouring hospitals should join forces.

The programme ceased abruptly after one year - with no visible recommendations.

It was replaced by the Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes Healthcare review, conducted by private consultants McKinsey with £3.2 million government funding.

The objective was to consider linking facilities at both hospitals, closing departments in one and expanding facilities in the other.

The reviews sparked fears in both towns , with patients concerned their local A&E , maternity units or children’s wards could be affected.

Mr Long said: “It all seems to have been a waste of money and a real mess, I think the consultancy firm should pay back the money to the NHS.”

A CCG spokesman confirmed that “so far” no plans to merge Milton Keynes and Bedford hospital had been recommended by the review.

He said: “The progress report will recommend further analysis for hospital services before any decision is made and we go to public consultation in December.”