A major reconfiguration of acute hospital care in the East Midlands will see significant change for five trusts in the region, HSJ has learned.

Rising demand, growing costs and a shortage of consultants, particularly in accident and emergency, has led to a review of all acute services.

The issue is covered in detail by today’s HSJ Local Briefing.

The five trusts affected are Bedford Hospital Trust, Kettering General Hospital Foundation Trust, Luton and Dunstable Hospital Foundation Trust, Milton Keynes Hospital Foundation Trust and Northampton General Hospital Trust.

Under the Healthier Together project the five trusts will work closer together than ever before.

Senior sources at the project have told HSJ that Kettering General Hospital and Bedford Hospital were the most likely trusts to lose high-risk A&E activity, emergency surgery and maternity care. A midwifery led service would be maintained at both trusts and around 80 per cent of A&E patients would continue to be seen at the two hospitals.

The three remaining trusts will see some planned and elective care switch to Kettering and Bedford. There will also be an increase in services delivered in the community.

An insider on the review said Kettering General and Bedford Hospital were the smallest sites and were the least sustainable in terms of their clinical teams.

But they added work was on-going as to exactly how the models would operate and no final decision had been made but they added: “If we do this, and get it right, it will be fantastic for the service and for patients.

“It should lead to some real improvements in clinical outcomes.”