Dear Rt Hon Earl Howe,
Thank you for your response to the letter addressed to David Cameron about Wycombe Hospital.
We still have deep concerns about the effects of distance to hospital services and maintain that Wycombe Hospital should be returned to a fully functioning one once more, with services including A&E, full maternity and overnight children’s services.
Our nearest A&Es Wexham Park and Stoke Mandeville continue to be overwhelmed since the downgrades here. Both were in ‘Black status’ over the winter. In the latest CCCG governing body paper dated 11th June 2015, Philip Murray (Chief Finance Officer) states that ‘unfortunately South Central Ambulance Service are not performing in Berks and Bucks’ i.e. that they are not meeting their targets locally.
The HOSC report mentioned in your letter was very limited. The Better Healthcare in Bucks (BHIB) ‘consultation’ only gave one option and residents very much don’t feel listened to.
In regards to a recent report by Healthwatch, they state that ‘people in Bucks are finding it more difficult than ever before to access hospital services. For many residents in Bucks the stress, anxiety and cost associated with getting to their appointments has become a major issue.’
We have received a wide range of comments from people, from those unable to visit their loved ones in hospital due to their own health conditions, people delaying treatment due to the distance/cost of travel, to some stating that their loved ones may still be alive if services were still at High Wycombe.
An ex Director of Public Health stated ‘I am appalled that the services have been cut from a hospital adjacent to the M40 and put such pressure on other local hospitals already overloaded.’
On a Quality Watch map showing how distance to services has changed, Wycombe is one of the areas where the change has been greatest.
In spite of asking, I am yet to see evidence that services such as respiratory, gastro, overnight children’s services etc. are doing better since being centralised.
We need a large data collection and proper holistic analysis, not only for our benefit but for the other hospitals now following suit. A fully functioning hospital here is not an unreasonable request and centralisation of services has gone too far. Seeing as the downgrades to Wycombe Hospital began in 2005, there should be plenty of data to analyse here. Please halt downgrades to other hospitals, at least until a full inquiry has taken place on the changes in Buckinghamshire.
Buckinghamshire continues to get less funding than most of the country. Our petition asking for fair funding and enough funding so that services are returned has now reached over 6000 signatures. Please ensure we get the funding to restore services and protect what we have here.
Your letter mentions that the Trust has no plans to sell or further change Wycombe Hospital. May I ask what time frame this refers to and whether there are others who do plan to sell the land? Concerns about the land have been amplified through the fact that MP Lee took the liberty to calculate its worth in his Thames Valley Hospital document. What reassurances can be given that the land given as a war memorial is safe?
Many people have experienced the effects of distance to hospital services: patients, their loved ones and staff.
It is time that things were put into place to restore services here. We need to start planning for a return of services now, particularly so that we can ensure appropriate staff can be recruited.
I include some links as appendices below and a copy of this letter will be published on the website www.savewycombehospital.wordpress.com
CCCG Governing Body Report http://www.chilternccg.nhs.uk/practices/bpcc/Governing-Body-Agenda-11th-June-2015.pdf
Healthwatch report on transport http://www.healthwatchbucks.co.uk/healthwatch-bucks-report-identifies-major-problems-transport-hospitals#sthash.kqxZcbAl.dpuf
Quality Watch Map http://www.qualitywatch.org.uk/indicator/average-distance-emergency-admissions
Video giving a taste of people’s experiences https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v57afmliufk
Response – July15