18 March 2021

Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire and Luton councils have been thanked for their invaluable comments and advice as part of early discussions about modernising NHS mental health inpatient services in Bedfordshire and Luton. 

The vision for ELFT and Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (BLMKCCG) is to develop a new inpatient mental health service at Shires House, Bedford Health Village, built in line with current clinical and architectural best practice, with sufficient capacity to meet the current and future needs of our populations, and strong links into the communities we serve, and to improve our existing inpatient services at the Luton Centre for Mental Health. 

BLMKCCG and ELFT have attended Bedford Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire Council and Luton Council overview and scrutiny committee (OSC) meetings to share their vision and listen to early feedback and comments from councillors about next steps and the best approach to engaging with communities to discuss and develop the ideas. 

BLMKCCG and ELFT now intend to develop a document summarising the proposals as the basis for further engagement with colleagues, service users and carers, residents and stakeholders in the early summer. Final detailed proposals will be subject to public consultation when they are developed. 

“The contribution of elected members from the three local authorities is invaluable in helping us understand how this project could develop and ensure we meet the needs of the communities we all serve,” said Richard Fradgley, ELFT Director of Integrated Care. 

"In any changes we propose to take forward, we will ensure that our services remain local and accessible to residents."   

The two proposed inpatient sites would form part of ELFT’s comprehensive mental health offer, and be supported by, and complement, mental health provision across Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire and Luton, including:  

  • 24hr NHS 111 mental health crisis support for all ages across Bedfordshire and Luton    
  • A Bedford mental health crisis café and 24hr mental health assessment hubs (North and South of Bedfordshire) providing walk-in mental health crisis support   
  • The expanded Bedfordshire and Luton Mental Health Recovery College   
  • Bedfordshire Wellbeing Service    
  • Transformed community-based support and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in line with the ambitions and investment of the NHS Long Term Plan, with particular emphasis on developing new neighbourhood mental health teams around primary care networks, integrated across primary care, social care, secondary care mental health and the voluntary sector