Houghton Regis Health Hub A key Aspiration: But Funding Not Yet Identified

  • An exchange of words in Central Bedfordshire Council last Thursday has highlighted that whilst a Health Hub in Houghton Regis is an aspiration, the funding for one has not yet been identified.

Following the meeting, Cllr Toni Ryan, Parkside Houghton Regis representative wrote on her Facebook Page

“Residents have raised concerns with me about the current waiting times at GP surgeries. So I took the issue of funding and timescales for the new "medical hub" to the highly paid Tory Councillor who is responsible for the project, Cllr Eugene Ghent. 
Rather than providing a detailed answer he said, "I have no idea".
NHS Bedfordshire had already alerted me to the fact that at this point in time, no capital funding had been secured for this project. More worryingly, our doctors are currently managing unprecedented demand due to Covid, and with the expected housing growth of some ten thousand new homes coming to Houghton Regis, this is no time for the highly paid Councillors to have "no idea" what's going on.
Houghton Regis has the worst health outcomes in Central Bedfordshire. Accordingly, I am demanding that the Council holds urgent meetings with the local clinical commissioning group to ensure that residents can access the care they need at the right time and in the right place.”

Houghton Regis News Desk contacted Central Bedfordshire Council with further enquiries, extracting the following response:

In response to the assertions made by Cllr Ryan, a Central Bedfordshire Council spokesperson said: “Cllr. Ghent was accurate in his statement that it is currently unclear how the Houghton Regis Integrated Care Hub will be funded. Whilst an Integrated health and care hub for Houghton Regis remains a key aspiration, no significant capital funding has yet been identified. However, we will continue to work with the Bedfordshire, Luton  and Milton Keynes CCG and the Bedfordshire Hospital NHS Trusts who will determine when and where a health and care hub is required according to their assessment of health provision in the area and they will ultimately take the decision whether to commission. In partnership with both organisations the council will continue to plan for additional health and care hubs and ensure we are best placed to respond to any funding opportunities as they present, which could include national capital opportunities.  An update on the Hub Programme is a standing item on the Health and Wellbeing Board’s Programme of meetings.”

Details of minutes, agendas for Health and Wellbeing Board - meetings and agendas can be found on Central Bedfordshire Council website.

Developments contribute 'Section 106' funding towards public amenities like playgrounds, open space, and health facilities. A council spokesperson said: “The only S106 contribution towards the Health Hub at Dunstable was in 2018. These were generic healthcare funds which were committed to the project.”

The Council publishes S106 Parish Reports on the web which are updated on a quarterly basis. The next to be published will be in October, which details all S106 contributions secured and received on a Parish basis. 

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