BREAKING: Health bosses’ ‘climbdown’ over plans to close maternity at Bedford Hospital

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Regional health bosses have been accused of making a “climbdown” over plans to close maternity services at Bedford Hospital and move them to Milton Keynes.

This week the Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes Healthcare Review panel announced that it was to propose closing a number of services in Bedford, as part of an ongoing study into the future of health services across the region.

But this afternoon the panel have announced they are postponing all plans on legal advice.

Councillor Louise , portfolio holder for public health at Bedford Borough Council, said: “This looks very much like a climbdown.”

Earlier today Councillor Jackson issued a joint statement with MP Richard Fuller and Mayor Dave Hodgson, who together represent the three main political parties.

They said that “the ramifications of such a significant change to a local hospital in our growing town are huge, and will not be supported by politicians of any party.”

A statement made this afternoon by the Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes Healthcare Review said: “The decision has been taken to postpone the proposed Joint Committee meeting on June 14.

“The Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes Healthcare Review has taken legal advice and been advised that to proceed with such a meeting in the immediate run-up to the EU Referendum would contravene the principles of purdah.

“In addition, the Healthcare Review was initiated prior to the introduction of Sustainability and Transformation Plans. Given the importance of aligning plans across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes, it has been agreed that a pause in the Review will be taken to ensure the direction of travel is consistent with the developing Sustainability and Transformation Plan.

“We will provide a further update in due course.”