Monthly Archives: December 2016

Write to our Councillors

Please write to Our Councillors asking them to

*Publish the missing appendices for our STP

*Call for a proper public consultation on all aspects of our STP

*Reject the STP and stop contracts being signed by 23rd December

*Call for more funding for our NHS

please copy in Healthwatch Bucks into your email :

The text below may be helpful, please personalise your letters. Here are some useful email addresses:

The Chairs to write to are Martin Tett, and Brian Roberts,, and Valerie Letheren,

Other committee members can be found on the links below

Your County Councillor can be found here:

Copying in your Wycombe District Councillor may be useful too:


A call for our councillors to do the right thing for Buckinghamshire and reject our STP plan

‘Sustainability and Transformation plans’ are the NHS’s answer to being forced to make £22 billion worth of efficiency savings, despite us spending less as a percentage of GDP than our neighbours on health. The plan for our local area was kindly leaked by Reading Borough Council due to ‘serious concerns about transparency of the draft document’. However, we are still missing some appendices, making it even more difficult to understand the rushed, cost cutting changes that are being planned.

Sadly, time and time again our local Scrutiny Committee has allowed downgrades to local services happen, particularly when it comes to Wycombe Hospital. I was however grateful to the previous Chair Cllr Macpherson for taking on board points about the flawed consultation for Lynton House surgery. The ‘community hub’ ‘consultation’ also has flaws, with those of us who have taken part still left with many questions as to how they will work.

Having received less funding for some time, Buckinghamshire has already faced cuts and closures that other counties are going through now e.g. A&E downgrades to Minor Injuries and Illnesses Units/Urgent Care Centres. At some stage, our County Councillors really must unite and stand up for our county. At what point will they do this? The time is surely now.

Bill Russell, a health campaigner from Aylesbury has stated that ‘The problem is that in Bucks we have been reducing costs for years and there is no more blood left in the stone! So healthcare will be different in the future unless the government has a change of mind.’

Another has said that ‘The only people benefiting from STPs are the consultants’. Consultants have been said to have been employed at every stage to help spin these changes to the public. Whilst there may be some good things in the plan, these are essentially cuts to our health service. As a country we already have less beds than many countries, however STPs will result in further losses of beds and hospital closures. Recently, Stoke Mandeville A&E was so busy that patients were asked to go home and come back the next day if they could!

Doctors have had limited involvement with the plans. Last month a survey by the British Medical Association (BMA) showed that 59% had not heard of STPs. Aspects of our STP including a changed skill mix of staff and prescription reductions have been reported on by the HSJ, nursing times and other publications. The regional director for the RCN (Royal College of Nursing) has expressed ‘serious concern’ over reductions in the workforce budget.
We need more time to analyse our STP and the impact that these changes will have. The fact that our 111 service which has been celebrated in the past for being run by our local ambulance service was even up for grabs by another company should ring alarm bells.
The document brings up several questions, for example if ‘pathology consolidation’ / ‘Pathology efficiencies’ means downgrades to pathology at Wycombe, this would make it amongst other things even harder to restore a fully functioning hospital back at Wycombe hospital.
Does ‘Implementation of iMSK lead provider contract (£35m pa contract’ mean that more of our physio services will go to Care UK and what would the wider impact of this be on our hospital, Amersham hospital, training of staff and the NHS?
The ‘estates’ mention is alarming. Wycombe Hospital was given to the people of Wycombe as a memorial to the Great War and to look after women and children. Use for anything other than this would be completely unacceptable. In fact, after hearing the sad news that Staples may be closing sites in the future, there have been calls to use that area to expand the hospital. Our Councillors are fully expected to protect our hospital land.

Councillors in Oxford have labelled our STP as ‘farcical’ and even ‘gobbledygook’, (both words I’ve only had to learn how to spell recently!)

We request that our Councillors refuse to sign up to these plans and call for proper consultations involving the whole of our STP (not just so-called ‘community hubs’). Big decisions like these shouldn’t be made without the public and staff. We ask them to ensure no contract changes are signed off before 23rd December, these are usually signed off in April, why the rush? We ask them to follow the example of other councils such as Hammersmith and Fulham and openly reject the STPs. Buckinghamshire County Council should publish the missing appendices too.

I would encourage everyone to contact their local Councillors as well as those on the Health and Wellbeing board and Scrutiny Committee, asking them to call for a proper consultation, to publish the missing appendices and ensure details of our local hospitals and health services, including Marlow hospital are in the public domain, and to truly champion the needs of Buckinghamshire residents by calling for more funding and rejecting further cuts to our much needed services. They should also highlight the difficulties that people face since downgrades at Wycombe, and call for the end of downgrades to hospitals fast following suit. We have and must continue to say, ‘not in our name’. Our NHS, recognised as the best health care system in the world, very much needs saving.

Some useful articles:

Two Stars and a Wish…

*Lynton House Surgery
We did it – Lynton House Surgery has been saved!


Financial Issues at Lynton

In short, it’s the story of members of the public attending meetings and speaking out for themselves and importantly those patients who couldn’t attend. It’s a story of a past mayor setting up a petition, presenting to the scrutiny committee, contacting decision makers and a protest photo advertised and attended by people from more than one political background coming together. It’s a story that made the local paper at the time and that helped with adding pressure and raising awareness. It’s the story of patients told not to bother fighting and to just accept the alternatives.

In spite of this, it’s the story of people helping each other to challenge an injustice.
Help and support with things like ‘ask for the Equality Impact Assessment’ and ‘keep going, patients will really be affected when it closes and they’ll realise when it’s too late’ certainly helped with me sending more emails than should probably be allowed  including to NHS England, the Practice, the Scrutiny Committee Chair and others!  I attended several meetings with commissioners and we were listened to, despite them being given a hard time for putting keeping Lynton open on the table again.  Documents were scrutinised and challenges were made. The then Scrutiny Committee Chair also took on board our points, including the flaws of the consultation. It’s the story of challenging things from the distance to alternative options, to volunteer systems that weren’t in place and up and running prior to the proposed closure.

Maybe those that calmed or tried to ‘mitigate’ and even close the surgery may have eventually come through for the patients in their own way, it’d be nice to think they had. 20161007_153630

The story is not over, the surgery badly needs the means to be open full time again and we have a growing population with GPs being underfunded (and leaving the country). We will need to assess the threat of the new petitions on health care in our region within the changing definitions around us, ensure these aren’t used to validate our STP and call for proper public consultations before any decisions affecting patients/carers and access to healthcare are made.
We’ll never really know what worked, but a story of an elderly lady in tears because she would no longer be able to independently attend appointments underpinned my motivation along with all the help and support. I think people power and team work won, patients and others spoke out, persisted, and their voices were heard. Access to primary care is so important. Thank you to everyone who helped,  publicly and in the background, including those who are no longer in the same roles.


*Purple lights on West Wycombe Mausoleum for pancreatic cancer awareness

We did it – The Dashwood mausoleum turned purple on World Pancreatic Cancer day, 17th November 2016.


Pic by M.V. Photography

This is a story of more team work! From deciding which local landmark to light, to helping promote materials from the charity, to dealing with technical issues with making orange sodium lights purple! Thank you to everyone who offered to help with this. In the end it was much more work than we could have imagined! But donations of special filter gels from A.C. Entertainment Technologies Ltd and all the hard work from the team at West Wycombe Estate paid off. We got purples!  Thank you to everyone who helped capture the final images and share information too. Buckinghamshire is now on the map:
It wasn’t as bright as we may have envisaged but perseverance and team work paid off. Again, the story isn’t over and you can learn more about pancreatic cancer here:


Display at Wycombe library

And read our articles here:






A wish….
We have worked so hard this year. This is just a tiny glimpse.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

But we are not done yet. We will need everyone working as a team to fight ‘Sustainability and Transformation plans’ (STPs). We need as many people as possible looking at the document and cutting through the spin so that we don’t miss things. (
We need public pressure on local politicians to publish the missing appendices and to not rush into signing off anything. We need to call for a proper consultation on all of the issues in the document. Please write to our Councillors..

Whilst the Lynton consultation was far from perfect (some patients still won’t even know it needed saving!) it gave us time to challenge and do what’s best for patients. Vascular services was complicated but there wasn’t the expected consultation for carotid endarterectomy. This resulted in patients being sent further for treatment when they were receiving good outcomes locally. More time would have meant amongst other things that Healthwatch could have recorded patient feedback more adequately as they did for Lynton. Consultation is so important, though we’ve seen our fair share of ‘consultations’.

It’s with teamwork that we can achieve the best for health. And in an ever changing, challenging time, it’s teamwork, people power and perseverance that will help us get the healthcare we need and deserve. We need more hands on deck than ever!
A special shout out to NHS staff during this difficult time. Our NHS very much needs saving, it’s getting harder but can be done with everyone’s help.

Resources for STP work can be found on
Our petition remains live:

Please sign and share this national petition too: