Beds, Herts & Bucks

Bedford Hospital: 'Some' paediatric services return

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Media captionBedford Hospital bosses are working to bring back paediatric services in a "safe and sustainable way"

Some paediatric services for patients going via a GP have returned to Bedford Hospital, bosses have confirmed.

Children's A&E services, planned surgery and overnight observation were suspended at the hospital last month over concerns about staff shortages.

From Monday, GPs can refer children to a consultant paediatrician at Riverbank Children's Day Unit for a "rapid same-day assessment", the trust confirmed.

A spokesman said it followed the recruitment of more children's doctors.

Bedford Hospital NHS Trust suspended the services for under-19s from the end of July after junior doctors expressed concern about inadequate levels of supervision.

From 1 August, patients have been transferred to Milton Keynes Hospital or another neighbouring hospital.

Short-stay assessment

The trust said the referral service, which can only be accessed through GPs, will now provide short-stay assessment, review and treatment for children, between 09:00 and 22:00, seven days a week.

However, if a child needs to be admitted to hospital they will continue to be transferred to Milton Keynes or another neighbouring hospital.

The Riverbank Children's Day Unit will also provide more outpatient or day care follow-up support for children treated at neighbouring hospitals, which will allow them to be discharged earlier.

The trust also confirmed ambulances will now bring 16-19-year-olds to the hospital's A&E department, but if they need to be admitted it will be onto an adult ward.

The hospital's acting chief executive, Stephen Conroy, said it was working hard to bring back services in a "safe and sustainable way".

"We have recruited additional consultant paediatricians to deliver services, supported by our paediatric nursing team to enable us to do this," he said.

"[We] will continue to work to return services to ensure that families can access the majority of care for their children locally."

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