Findings of feasibility study into further healthcare services in Leighton Buzzard published

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Residents continue to have difficulty accessing primary care, findings show

The findings of a feasibility study to support the development of further health and care services in Leighton Buzzard have been published.

The study follows the public meeting, held in February, by the Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board (ICB) to discuss upcoming decisions.

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The findings of the study, launched in March, established residents continue to have difficulty in accessing primary care and that additional care could be secured through a new facility.

MP Andrew Selous has welcomed the findings.MP Andrew Selous has welcomed the findings.
MP Andrew Selous has welcomed the findings.

Two locations have been explored for this including the Clipstone Park development and land off Vandyke Road, held by the Secretary of State for Health and Care, where an additional facility could be sited or from where value could be released from the land to increase capital.

The cheapest of the service options requires £73,200 per year. It includes shared primary care, bookable meeting rooms and expansion space although it does not include shared primary space. A second option includes the latter, costing £109,050 per year, for which additional funding is needed.

The ICB plans to discuss the findings of the study with residents and partners.

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ICB chief executive Felicity Cox said: “Improving access to health and care across our area is a priority for the Integrated Care Board and requires us to work with partners and clinicians to help us deliver affordable and sustainable solutions.

“We have listened to residents and understand the need to future proof services in Leighton Buzzard given the growth in housing and population growth expected over the next decade.

“The Feasibility Study shows that we have two potential options available to us and we will work with residents and partners to agree how a new space could best be used, subject to detailed planning and the development of an outline business case.”

Responding to the study, MP Andrew Selous said: “It is good to see these proposals taking shape. At the public meeting I called in the town in February, I said there was a glimmer of hope as a result of the ability to release capital value from four acres of land on Vandyke Road, owned by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. No previous health authority or local authority has managed to release the value from this land over the last 35 years.

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“We now have the opportunity to do something good for the town and we must not waste this chance. I want to listen to the reaction of our local GPs and primary care staff and also most importantly to the voices of our three patient participation groups. It is also important to me that additional urgent same day care provision is centrally located in the town so everyone can get to it easily. I will press for these proposals to be as ambitious as possible. There are a number of possible sources of funding for the additional £1.185 million, which option B currently requires.”

The MP added he and the Primary Care Minister were committed to delivering additional care as soon as possible, but use of additional capital must be considered carefully.