The changes being made

Work is underway across the whole spectrum of services, from health promotion and primary, community and social care to the area’s hospitals.

Primary, community and social care

A transformation in the way primary, community and social care are provided began in 2017: ensuring appropriate use of the urgent care service, maximising self-care, enhancing primary care, integrating health and social care services as well as supporting physical and mental health services, and transforming services for people with learning difficulties.

The system is implementing an innovative approach to strengthening and redesigning its primary care, called ‘primary care home’. This brings together a range of health and social care professionals to provide enhanced personalised and preventative care for their local community. This will be piloted in a number of localities, with expanded multidisciplinary teams supported through recruitment of pharmacists, GPs and mental health therapists.

The transformational nature of creating primary care home is the networking of GP practices – including the sharing of workforce and infrastructure – and supporting them with a wider multi-disciplinary team to look after populations of approximately 30,000-50,000. Funding has been allocated to provide incentives for GPs wishing to create these clusters of practices, which in turn will enable new models of working and enhance primary care services across the region.

Secondary care

Work is underway to merge Bedford Hospital and Luton & Dunstable University Hospital. Strong partnerships already exist between the two and by operating as a single team they will be able to provide the best services for patients and create better opportunities for staff. A full range of services will continue to be provided on both sites, with key services such as A&E, maternity and paediatrics being retained at Bedford Hospital. During 2018, it is planned that both teams will continue to work together to establish a joint board, look at how clinical teams can be integrated and streamline patient care.