COMMISSIONING: A “flawed” review of health services should be rejected in full rather than become part of sustainability and transformation plan for health and social care integration, according to the elected mayor of Bedford Borough Council.

HSJ reported earlier this week that a standalone review by Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes clinical commissioning group, which cost a reported £4.5m and proposed Bedford Hospital should be stripped of major services, had been scrapped.

NHS England and the two CCGs jointly decided earlier this month to merge the review into the area’s STP.

Bedford mayor Dave Hodgson, a long term critic of the review, said its findings should be rejected in favour of a new approach following the publication of the council’s own services review, which recommended the creation of an integrated care organisation.

He said: “We should be working together to develop comprehensive, sustainable solutions such as that outlined in the report we commissioned, around integrating health and social care.

“We are… disappointed to hear STP colleagues state that the STP is committed to ‘building on’ the healthcare review’s work.”

Mr Hodgson said the same sort of language had been used when the latest review superseded a previous “discredited” services review, which also recommended stripping back services at Bedford Hospital.

He continued: “We need a new approach, which recognises that there is no genuinely sustainable solution for the future without social care.

“The STP represents an opportunity to work together to plan for the extremely challenging times ahead for health and social care services, and as a supposed partner in the STP that is what we will be working towards.”

The council has previously criticised a lack of transparency in the STP process.