‘Vital’ work on Leighton Buzzard healthcare plans must continue election candidates urge

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There has been anger and dismay as work on much anticipated health facilities for Leighton Buzzard is put on hold after last week’s general election announcement.

An outline business case for health care in the town had been due to be released by the Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board (BLMK) this week. Under pre election rules public bodies are prevented from making major announcements.

Responding to the news that the proposals will now be published after the general election, South West Bedfordshire MP Andrew Selous said: “Like everyone else I was extremely disappointed to learn this news but I understand that official advice is that it cannot be published during the general election period. I have contacted the Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes integrated care board (BLMK) to make it clear that the work on this vital important project must continue at official level during the general election period and that I also expect the summit organised by the Department for Health and Social Care on primary care in large new housing developments in BLMK to happen after the general election, whatever the results locally or nationally. We have waited too long for this important development and the work must continue at pace to bring these new facilities to fruition.”

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Cllr Emma Holland-Lindsay, Chair of the Health Scrutiny Committee and Liberal Democrat General Election candidate for Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard, said: “This further delay is an absolute kick in the teeth for the people of Leighton Buzzard. Our town is crying out for additional local health facilities, as the ICB has been repeatedly told. It is just not acceptable. The Patient Participation Groups have put so much work into representing the views of the town, yet the ICB just don't seem to care.”

The outline consultation has been put on holdThe outline consultation has been put on hold
The outline consultation has been put on hold

Meanwhile, Edith Griffith, chair of the Leighton Linslade Health Provision Group, said upon hearing of the delay: “The Leighton Linslade Health Provision Group is extremely dismayed at this latest hold up and is urging the ICB to release the OBC as soon as possible and has already asked for a definite presentation date to be set up immediately following the General Election. The improvement in health facilities and services in Leighton Buzzard is of paramount importance to all of our 53,000 patients and must be made an ICB priority.”

In February a spokesman for BLMK said: “We are looking particularly closely at the range of estimates for the capital that could be released from the DHSC-owned site on Vandyke Road. The OBC will explore potential additional premises as well as how we could make better use of the existing health estate in the town, including that which is currently used for administrative purposes. We anticipate that we will be in a position to share the key findings from the Outline Business Case in May 2024.”

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