Bedford Hospital

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This article relates to Bedford Hospital in England. For Bedford Hospital in South Africa, please see Bedford Provincial Hospital (Eastern Cape).

Bedford Hospital
Bedford Hospital NHS Trust
Bedford Hospital's Britannia Road entrance
Location Bedford, Bedfordshire, England, United Kingdom
Coordinates 52°07′44″N 0°28′18″W / 52.128857°N 0.471743°W / 52.128857; -0.471743Coordinates: 52°07′44″N 0°28′18″W / 52.128857°N 0.471743°W / 52.128857; -0.471743
Care system Public NHS
Funding Public hospital
Hospital type General
Emergency department Yes Accident & Emergency
Founded 1897 (1803)
Lists Hospitals in England

Bedford Hospital NHS Trust is a 400-bed district general hospital located in the English town of Bedford, serving north and mid Bedfordshire.


The hospital provides services to 270,000 people living in north and mid Bedfordshire. It was one of the top 40 hospitals in the UK, as recognised by CHKS Ltd, from 2003 to 2013. Only six other hospitals have been named in the top 40 for each of these years.

In 2012 the hospital performed 37,245 operations, and had 279,188 outpatient attendances by 68,168 patients.

In December 2013 it was announced that Monitor was reviewing of health services in Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes in an attempt to avert "significant problems ahead" in the local hospitals.[1]

Circle Health was awarded a prime provider contract for Bedfordshire's Musculoskeletal service in April 2014 by the Clinical Commissioning Group and it was intended that the Trust would be a subcontractor. In November the Trust announced that it had refused to sign the contract because it endangered the viability of its trauma and Accident and Emergency service as the number of referrals dropped by 30%.[2]

It was named by the Health Service Journal as one of the top hundred NHS trusts to work for in 2015. At that time it had 2211 full time equivalent staff and a sickness absence rate of 3.96%. 75% of staff recommend it as a place for treatment and 63% recommended it as a place to work.[3] It spent 7.2% of its total turnover on agency staff in 2014/5.[4]

Main site (South Wing)[edit]

Accident & Emergency
Gilbert Hitchcock House at the Bedford Health Village

Bedford Hospital is mainly situated on Britannia Road/Ampthill Road in the Cauldwell area of Bedford. This site (still popularly known as South Wing) is home to the Accident and Emergency department, theatres, pathology, inpatient wards, x-ray department, oncology services and the outpatients services. The main site houses BEDOC, NHS Bedfordshire CCG's GP out-of-hours emergency service.

The hospital has been named as being in the top 25% in the country for stroke unit performance, its work to prevent pressure ulcers and improve the care and experience of vulnerable patients was voted as the best safety project at the 2011 National Patient Safety Congress, and in 2011 it was one of the first hospitals in the country to offer access to a dedicated acute cancer team.

Developments on the main site over the last 20 years include:

  • Cygnet Wing (1996), a paediatric, maternity and gynaecology building
  • A new critical care complex (2002)
  • The Macmillan Primrose Centre (2003), an oncology centre funded entirely by charitable donations from local people
  • The laser treatment centre (1997) with 6 state of the art lasers, making Bedford hospital the regional NHS laser centre in East Anglia.
  • Beeden House (2005), which hosts cardiology including a cardiac catheterisation suite, as well as occupational therapy, urodynamics and orthotics
  • A new £7m pathology building (2006)
  • The Acorn Suite, a home-from-home midwifery-led birth unit with birthing pools and equipment (2010)
  • A purpose-built one-stop Breast And Bowel Cancer Centre, offering diagnostics, results and consultations in one place (2010)
  • A new state-of-the-art gamma camera with built-in CT scanner for the radiology department (2012)
  • The Butterfly Suite, a bereavement suite for recently bereaved parents that is away from the maternity ward (2012)

Wards at the hospital include:

Integrate Medicine Division

  • Elizabeth - Male Care of the Elderly / Complex Needs - 30 Beds
  • Harpur - Female Care of the Elderly / Complex Needs - 26 Beds
  • Howard - Stroke Unit - 28 Beds
  • Reginald Hart - Fragility Fracture Unit, Care of the Elderly / Complex Needs - 30 Beds
  • Coronary Care Unit - Acute Cardiology - 16 Beds
  • Godber - Female Acute Medical, Endocrinology, Cardiology and Respiratory - 18 Beds
  • Pilgrim - Male Acute Medical, Endocrinology, Cardiology and Respiratory - 32 Beds
  • Whitbread - Gastroenterology - 28 Beds
  • Arnold Whitchurch - Male Elderly Medicine Step Down - 15 Beds
  • Russell - Female Elderly Medicine Step Down - 15 Beds
  • Acute Assessment Unit - Acute Medical Admissions - 25 Beds
  • Gifford Nash - Medical Day Case Unit

Planned Care Division

  • Shuttleworth - Emergency Surgery and Trauma - 32 Beds (14 Trauma, 18 Surgical)
  • Shand - Major Surgery (Vascular, Colorectal, Upper GI and Urology) - 32 Beds (29 Base Beds + 3 Escalation Beds)
  • Tavistock - Surgical Day Case Unit
  • Richard Wells - Elective Surgery, Orthopaedics, Urology, General and Upper GI Surgery - 27 Beds
  • Critical Care Complex - Intensive Care and High Dependency Unit - 10 Beds
  • Orchard Gynaecology - 10 Beds
  • Orchard Maternity - Antenatal and Postnatal Care - 18 Beds
  • Meadowbank - Neonatal Unit - 14 cots
  • Riverbank - Paediatric Medicine and Surgery, 16 Beds/Cots (Patients aged 0–16)

Bedford Health Village (North Wing)[edit]

Some services are based at the Bedford Health Village, two miles north of the main site. This site (which used to be known as North Wing) includes the old Bedford workhouse building. Services here include occupational therapy, physiotherapy and rehabilitation facilities, as well as a chest clinic and a drop-in dental service. Many parts of the Bedford Health Village are still under construction, with further services expected to relocate there in the coming years.[5]

Psychiatric services[edit]

Weller Wing

Weller Wing, the main psychiatric hospital serving the area, is based on the main site, although it is run by a separate organisation. Since 2015 both inpatient and community psychiatric services in Bedford have been provided by East London NHS Foundation Trust.


  • Keats - 24 beds, acute adult psychiatry
  • Brontë - 18 beds, acute adult psychiatry
  • Chaucer - 15 beds, old-age psychiatry
  • Milton - 15 beds, old-age psychiatry - dementia and other organic illnesses
  • Sheridan Day Hospital - 15 places per day, for over 65s


Bedford Hospitals Charity was founded in 1988, initially to raise money to refurbish the Student Nurse Home South Wing.

Over the succeeding 25 years the charity has raised over £7½ million for a range of projects, including the £2.5million for the Primrose Appeal to build a new oncology unit. Other projects have included the £600,000 for gamma camera facilities, £400,000 for state-of-the-art cancer screening equipment in the endoscopy department, and £200,000 for the refurbishment of the Cygnet Wing.

The Friends Of Bedford Hospital is another charity, founded in 1902, which raises funds for additional equipment requested by staff. It holds events throughout the year, and also raises money through members’ subscriptions, donations, bequests and collections.

Recent donations include a £22,000 breast scanner, a £6,300 bladder scanner, £2,410 for a trial diet for dementia sufferers, and sharing the cost of a nipple tattoo machine for reconstructive surgery with Bedford Borough Council.

Mortuary story[edit]

The new pathology building

In 2001, it was reported in the local press that bodies were being stored on the floor of the chapel of rest, while part of the hospital's mortuary was undergoing maintenance. An internal inquiry found, that although the bodies were tampered with before the photographs were taken, the hospital's management was at fault, and the chief executive subsequently resigned.[6]

The situation is now resolved, as the new pathology building houses a larger mortuary.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Monitor to review services in Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes". Health Service Journal. 2 December 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2013. 
  2. ^ "Bedford refuses to sign Circle MSK contract". Health Service Journal. 7 November 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "HSJ reveals the best places to work in 2015". Health Service Journal. 7 July 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015. 
  4. ^ "Agency spending: the real picture". Health Service Journal. 26 November 2015. Retrieved 23 December 2015. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ BBC News - Bodies scandal 'was a set-up'

External links[edit]