Acute Paediatric Services - Bedford Hospital


Urgent GP Paediatric Referrals

Please see links below on current Paediatric services, alternatively please see up to date information placed on the Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Groups Extranet at the following address:


Information for GP Paediatric referrals

What paediatric services mean

Paediatric Services- safeguarding and Young People Arrangements

Designated Contact

Assessing medical services for children

Updates to Paediatric Care in Bedford


1st November 2013
Children attending A&E at Bedford Hospital may now be transferred to the hospital's paediatric unit for further day-time assessment.

The unit will be open from 9am through to the last referral at 8pm. Children needing assessment outside those hours, or an in-patient stay will continue to be transferred to neighbouring hospitals.

Each transfer from A&E to Riverbank must be agreed between an A&E consultant/registrar and a paediatric consultant.

The change takes effect from 1 November.

The referral unit remains open to GP referrals between 9am and 11pm with the last referral at 8pm.

16th September 2013
Following the recruitment of additional paediatricians, including lead consultant, Dr Andy Raffles, Bedford Hospital will introduce the following services on Monday 16 September.

GP urgent referral

GPs will be able to refer a child directly to a consultant paediatrician based on Riverbank Children's Day Unit, between 9am and 10pm (last referral at 7pm).

Following discussion between the GP and the consultant paediatrician, one of the following triage options will be selected:

  1. The GP receives advice from the paediatrician on how to manage that child or young person's condition and a trip to hospital is unnecessary.
  2. The child or young person visits Bedford Hospital's short stay unit for assessment, monitoring and treatment as required.
  3. The paediatrican advises that an in-patient stay will be needed and the child or young person is admitted to a neighbouring hospital.

This service is only accessible via a GP referral. GPs can refer patients requiring acute day care through the consultant triage service by dialling 01234 355122 and requesting bleep number 542.

If a child needs to be admitted they will continue to be transferred to Milton Keynes or a neighbouring hospital.

Increased ambulatory care for supported discharge of children

The Riverbank Children's Day Unit will provide more follow-up support for children who have been treated at a neighbouring hospital.

This means that children can (when clinically appropriate and with the agreement of their families) be discharged from other hospitals to Bedford for continuing outpatient or day care, rather than spending longer as an inpatient further away from home.

Ambulance transfer and admission to Bedford Hospital for young people aged between 16 and 19

Bedford Hospital has defined a child as being aged up to 19 (in accordance with safeguarding legislation). Other local hospitals define children as being aged up to 16.

Bedford Hospital has changed its definition of the age of a child to mirror other local hospitals and ensure consistency for children and young people across local health services.

Young people aged between 16 and 19 can now be brought to A&E by ambulance, and if they attend A&E they will be admitted (if they need to be) to an adult ward, with support from paediatric nurses.

Summary of children's services provided at Bedford Hospital from Monday 16 September

  • Walk-in paediatric A&E service for minor injuries (patients will be treated and discharged or transferred if they need to be admitted overnight.
  • Ambulance to A&E for young people aged between 16 and 19, with admission onto an adult ward.
  • Outpatient service.
  • Same-day (day case) medical/ surgical care.
  • Nurse-led ambulatory (day case and outpatient) care.
  • Short stay assessment and urgent GP referrals (9am to 10pm).
  • Maternity services, neonatal services and adult emergency care are unaffected and continue as normal.

The following services continue to be provided by other hospitals on an interim basis:

  • Overnight inpatient care for children aged under 16.
  • Ambulance to A&E for children aged under 16.
  • Admission to an inpatient ward from the short stay assessment unit (patients requiring overnight admission will be transferred to a neighbouring hospital).
  • Open access to Riverbank Ward.

In response to feedback from GPs, here is the contact information for clinical leads at Bedford Hospital:

  • Andy Raffles, Consultant Paediatrician -
  • Rishi Arora, Consultant Paediatrician -
  • Lynda Fitzgerald, Clinical Business Unit Manager for Women and Children's Services - Lynda.fitzgerald@bedfordhospital.nhs.

31st July 2013
Bedford Hospital's A&E department closes to children for all but minor injuries at midnight on 31 July 2013.

Riverbank Ward will also close to inpatients from that date.

All practices should have received posters to put on their patient noticeboards showing how the changes will affect local families. You should also have received postcards to issue to patients outlining where to go for urgent care.

Please use these items.

If you have not received your posters and postcards - or would like to receive more - contact BCCG's communications team on 01234 897314

19th July 2013
BEDFORD Hospital's A&E department WILL continue to treat children for minor injuries that cannot be dealt with by a GP after changes to other paediatric services have come into force (1 August 2013).

The hospital will continue to provide a service for children who can be treated and discharged such as children who, for example need a wound stitched or an X-ray.

Any child who is brought to A&E and needs observation or admission to hospital, will be stabilized (if necessary) and transferred by ambulance to Milton Keynes Hospital (or another neighbouring hospital). Children will be assessed and treated by emergency medicine consultants with the support of specialist paediatric nurses.

15th July 2013
BEDFORD Hospital NHS Trust has today (Monday, 15 July) announced changes to the way its paediatric services will be delivered.

The changes are listed below. BCCG will feed further details back to practices as the information becomes available. Please continue to check the Extranet for updates.

From 1 August 2013, Bedford Hospital will no longer provide:

• Planned overnight inpatient care (on Riverbank Ward) for children having elective surgery, or planned medical procedures or care. Children will be cared for by their Bedford consultant at Milton Keynes Hospital or another neighbouring hospital

• Emergency overnight inpatient care (on Riverbank Ward) as there will be no emergency admissions from 29 July. See further information on emergency access below

• Children's A&E. Children brought to hospital by ambulance will go straight to the next nearest hospital. Children (those aged up to 19) should not be brought to A&E as walk-in patients from 1 August

• Children's assessment unit, for children requiring short-stay observation following attendance at A&E, as there will be no emergency admissions from 31 July

Bedford Hospital will continue to provide:

• Children's outpatients services; all children's outpatients clinics will continue to run as normal

• Nurse-led ambulatory care for children with chronic or long-term conditions whose care can be managed by specialist paediatric nurses

• Day unit (on Riverbank Ward) with day case care following planned surgery, or for planned medical procedures or care

• Maternity services and neonatal services are unaffected and continue to run as normal

• All other services, including adult A&E remain as normal

Children are defined as being aged up to 19.

Families or young people with concerns about how the changes may affect them should contact Riverbank Ward on 01234 730500.

Emergency Access

If families have a sick child who requires urgent medical attention they should dial 999 for an ambulance.

From 21 July no child will be brought to Bedford Hospital by ambulance.

From 1 August children should not be brought to Bedford Hospital A&E as walk-in patients.

Bedford Hospital has a statutory duty to provide medical care to all patients who come to A&E. As such if a sick child is brought to A&E, paediatric staff in Bedford's A&E department will see them, stabilise them and arrange their transfer to another hospital, or treat and discharge them if their illness or injury is very minor. Sick children and families will not be turned away from A&E without help.


Patient Information Leaflets

Baby Colic


Tear duct blockage

Down's syndrome



Bronchiolitis advice sheet

Fever advice sheet

Gastro advice sheet

Head injury advice

Abdominal pain in children

Febrile seizure

Gastro-oesophageal Reflux disease (GORD)

Gastro-oesophageal Reflux disease (GORD)

General Practitioner resource toolkit for Epilepsy

Epilepsy Action GP resource toolkit 2011

Providing support for after Meningitis- A guide for Healthcare Professionals

Providing support for after Meningitis- A guide for Healthcare Professionals

Patient pathways



Non-paed febrile

Remote Assessment of fever


Head injury

Abdominal pain

Asthma discharge management plan

Wheeze discharge management plan

Pathways for parent & Carers

Meningitis symptoms poster

Meningitis signs and symptoms card

Gastro prevention leaflet

Head injury advice

Patient Support Groups

Cry-sis The charity's aim is to offer information and emotional support to families with excessively crying, sleepless babies. Tel: 08451 228 669 - 9am - 10pm, 365 days a year. Web:

Sick Children's Trust- The Sick Children's Trust is a national charity. They provide safe and secure accommodation in the form of "homes from home" for the families of seriously ill children, whilst their child is undergoing vital medical treatment many miles from home.  Available at

Action for sick children It acts as a consumer information base, funds hospital facilities such as play programmes and parents' accommodation and sets up services to facilitate family visiting. Tel: 01663 763 004 Web:

Cleft Lip and Palate Association- CLAPA is the representative organisation for all people with and affected by cleft lip and/or palate in the UK. CLAPA provide support and information to new parents, specialized bottles and teats for babies, activities for children and young people, advice on accessing treatment for adults, and volunteering opportunities as individuals or through our branches. Web:

Cystic Fibrosis Trust- provides practical support and advice to people with Cystic Fibrosis and their families.  CFT believe that everybody living with CF deserves the best possible quality of life with access to the best quality care and with a real hope for a better future. We will support them and their families to make this happen. Available at

Down's Syndrome Association - provides information & support on all aspects of living with Down's syndrome to all who need it. Helpline available on 0208 614 5100 or visit

Last updated: 29/06/2015

Update due: 29/06/2016