24. Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire and Luton

In October 2018, the chief executives of NHS England and NHS Improvement wrote to all STP leaders instructing them to come up with new five year plans by autumn 2019. The new five-year plans will replace those which were drawn-up in 2016 based on the previous five-year funding settlement to 2020-21. The new five year STP will be developed based on a new NHS England budget.

The letter notes that “It will be extremely important that you develop your plans with the proper engagement of all parts of your local systems and that they provide robust and credible solutions for the challenges you will face in caring for your local populations over the next five years.”

NOTE: The information on this page relates to the original STP drawn up in 2016, however much of the information is still relevant and could be part of the new STP.

What concerns have been raised about your STP?

Health planners are trying to reduce NHS deficits and think about ways to re-organise care. However getting the large deficit under control could prevent facilities being developed that can cope with the health and care social needs of local people.

Proposed changes

The STP plans could see mergers and cuts at the three hospitals in the area: Luton, Milton Keynes and Bedford.

A&E services could be reduced in at least one of the three hospitals, 'especially overnight'.

Consultant-led maternity care could be cut in at least one hospital, meaning only 'low-risk births' could take place there.

Paediatric care at two of the hospitals could be reduced, with care concentrated for the most unwell children at one of the three sites.

A number of "limited clinical value" conditions will no longer be treated; these range from bariatric surgery to female sterilisation to eye lens implants.


The STP has come under sharp criticism from the Mayor of Bedford and local councillors for its lack of concrete plans for the three local hospitals.

Results of an initial public consultation shows that the public is concerned about the lack of detail, use of jargon, and lack of public and local authority involvement in the plans. Many members of the public thought that there was a problem with underfunding.

Changes in who organises our care

This area has been named one of the first accountable care systems and will receive a share of up to £450 million in transformation funding. This is a new model of care that will increase integration between health and social care.