01 September 2021

The public are being asked for their views on a vision to modernise NHS inpatient mental health care across Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire and Luton.

The Trust and partner Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (BLMK CCG) believe that care can be improved through a programme that includes building a £60m new mental health hospital at Bedford Health Village and investing £10m in redeveloping existing inpatient services in Luton.

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.

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

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.

“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,” said Richard Fradgley, ELFT’s executive for integrated care.

“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,” said Richard Alsop, BLMK CCG Director of Commissioning, Contracting and Transformation.

“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.”

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