In May, we were pleased to publish our Feasibility Study into additional health and care services in Leighton Buzzard.
The Study highlighted the options for increasing health capacity in the Town, including how the development or release of the land held by the Secretary of State for Health and Care off VanDyke Road could support this. Since its publication, we have continued to work with our colleagues in Central Bedfordshire Council, and with other partners, to assess the options for delivering the additional services local people want.
Last month, the Integrated Care Board was pleased to receive the findings from the Survey undertaken by the Patient Participation Groups from Leighton Buzzard’s three practices in which 5,393 residents gave their views. Headlines from the Survey included:
- People are struggling to access primary care services, and there is a strong desire to increase the capacity and diversity of local health and care services; and,
- people would like more services delivered locally, for example increased availability of local blood tests and easier access to urgent care, to reduce the need to travel outside the Town.
The ICB has also recently been passed the written comments submitted as part of the Survey, and we are reviewing these in detail.
The Integrated Care Board is pleased to formally confirm today that we are progressing with the development of an Outline Business Case as the next step in the process to secure additional healthcare provision in the town. The development of this Business Case is an essential part of agreeing the way forward, and for developing the designs and detailed costs for a potential additional facility in the Town.
The ICB has appointed external specialist support to provide the detailed technical and financial planning required to progress the development of the Outline Business Case. This work is expected to be complete by Spring 2024, and all appropriate steps will be taken with local and national partners to expediate this timeframe. We know local people want to see action, and we are committed to meeting the needs of residents in a way that is sustainable over the long term.
One of the first and most important stages in the development of the Outline Business Case will be agreeing which services would operate from the proposed new facility. The feedback from the Resident Survey will be fundamental to this, and, as such, the Project Team expect to work closely with the Town’s three Patient Participation Groups. We know how important it is to communicate clearly with local people as this work progress, and so we will be publishing an update every six weeks as the Business Case comes together. These updates will also include news of other proposed changes to health and care services in the Town.
We look forward to continuing to work with partners, public representatives, and residents in the interests of ensuring good access to health and care services for all local people.