Monthly Archives: January 2017

An Open Letter to Steve Baker MP


Dear Steve,
Approximately 11 months ago I sent you an image of a child at Stoke Mandeville on a makeshift bed made of two chairs put together. The image had already been on social media and I had permission to share it with you however it was a difficult image to attach.
It is upsetting to learn that Stoke Mandeville continues to be overwhelmed. In fact there have at times been calls for patients who can go home to do so and come back the next day. What has been done since that image was taken to make life easier for staff, patients and their families?

It is distressing knowing that the STP process will mean more hospitals will be downgrading. Hospitals like Huddersfield which serves a town/population not too dissimilar to ours. You can view how busy Huddersfield hospital is here:…/revealed-huddersfield-ae-patien…
The continued downgrade of the busy Horton General will increase the strain on Oxford’s John Radcliffe. More operations at the JR were cancelled today:…/15022188.HOSPITAL_CRISIS__Al…/ As more housing is being built, including Aylesbury’s garden village, the strain on Stoke Mandeville is only set to increase. In the last couple of years, we have had fires at both Stoke and Wexham. Whilst these were dealt with quickly, they show a big flaw in mass centralisation of services.

Please speak up for the other hospitals facing downgrades. You are aware of the many difficulties people face here since Wycombe lost Dr led births, SCBU and our A&E (with associated wards/departments). Closing more departments/beds when they are overwhelmed and we have a growing population is unacceptable, and distance to services does make a difference. I have attached an image showing how the UK compares with other countries in terms of bed numbers.

Please ensure the NHS gets the funding it needs. An example is HS2 money could be spent on the existing network and the NHS. (Also did the last budget really contain tax cuts at a time when there are NHS staff attending food banks?!)

Please ensure the Department of Health understands that Wycombe and surrounds needs its own fully functioning hospital here, and that that is reflected in any A&E redesign/refurbishment at Wexham Park. Urgent action also needs to be taken to ensure the recruitment, retention and training of staff.
Please ensure the NHS has funding so that busy GP surgeries like Lynton House can be open full time again. Currently the surgery is only open part time due to a lack of money. Any money earmarked for social care must be brought forward to reduce the burden on the NHS. Billions of pounds worth of cuts in social care have added to the strain. Step down wards like 5B should be reopened so that people on the health/social care borderline can be discharged when it is safe. Additional funding is needed for prevention and education, so that we can see the benefit later down the line.

Buckinghamshire has received less funding for some time and is ahead when it comes to hospital downgrades/centralisation. Yet we are still expected to make millions of pounds of savings under the STP process?

Our last letter to the Treasury was sadly referred to the Department of Health. I hope you will be able to take forward the points made:…/an-open-letter…/

Evidence shows that the NHS is the most cost effective, efficient health care system in the world. Yet we spend less of our GDP on health than many EU countries. I’m told that the NHS doesn’t fit everyone’s ideology. If this is the case then it’s OK to look at the evidence and have an exception.

A sign change to an urgent care centre simply isn’t good enough. If Wycombe is to have an urgent care centre, it should be next door to an A&E department so that patients can be triaged accordingly. I appreciate that you commissioned consultants Durrow to advise you on Wycombe hospital. However you must accept that their involvement in the downgrades of Wycombe made it unlikely that they would advocate the return of full maternity and A&E to Wycombe hospital. Their use of ‘casualty department’ for what is essentially a minor injuries unit showed a severe lack of understanding of public conceptions and needs.
I look forward to seeing you as our MP, truly champion our hospital, county, and NHS.




Dear Steve,

Thank you for your letter. As you’ve mentioned the Bucks Free Press more than once, I will respond to some of the issues raised.

This is also a request that you act urgently to halt our STP and ensure that our NHS gets the funding it deserves. At the very least there should be a full, proper consultation on the whole of our STP including the removal of beds at Marlow and Thame. We engaged fully with the ‘Community Hub’ sessions and bed closures weren’t explicitly discussed.

In fact, this letter could be filled with how the NHS was engaged with by me in the last year alone, let alone by others. But In short, with your comment about participation, you’re very much mistaken.

The campaign continues to receive support from across the political spectrum and I continue to update our Facebook group with any public meetings I’m aware of (as I have done for years). However, over the incredibly important issue of health, surely as our elected representative you should work with anyone in your constituency, regardless of whether they are of a different political persuasion. As you know there are many people who support the return of services to Wycombe, including politicians, scientists and doctors.

There are many points raised in the letter which you didn’t address.

 You talk about cardiac and stroke care, which we already have. But ‘The College of Emergency Medicine, which represents A&E doctors, said it never believed that the massive centralisation of services was justified clinically’

What evidence is there that services such as respiratory, gastro etc. are actually performing better since moving to Stoke?

 Unfortunately, you and I know that changes aren’t always clinically led. Last year, we lost certain vascular procedures despite a successful rotation with Oxford and evidence of good/better outcomes in Wycombe. Our local HASC scrutiny committee has once again failed to refer an important matter to the Health Secretary. I’m still hopeful they will. Other hospitals have certainly benefitted from their scrutiny committee’s referrals in the past.

I want to provide reassurance that I’m not asking for cardiac treatment to go back to a time before I was born.

As our MP, you’re right you do have access to officials. Perhaps you could publish the minutes of these meetings.  My understanding was that the NHS was keen to get a consistency of message as to what an Urgent Care Centre does. I’m afraid I’m yet to come across what you describe as an Urgent Care Centre, links to this information would be useful – certainly the Urgent Care Centre in Maidenhead is a Minor Injuries Unit without a CSRU.  Heart attack and Stroke aren’t listed in on the NHS choices website as being treated by UCCs, and the 2015 built QEII UCC seems to have a different set up to what you describe.

-What reassurances can you give us that cardiac and stroke services will still be in Wycombe in 5-10 years time, and not centralised e.g. to Oxford?

-What are the future plans for the Tower Block area?

-Where do you envisage your model of ‘urgent care centre’ being set up? Will it all fit into our PFI building? Who will run it?

-Where would the extra GPs come from? Would a GP surgery have to close?

Surely having learned about the difficulties people have faced you recognise that things like not having the excellent children’s ward open 24/7 is insufficient for our growing population needs?

 The Durrow report says ‘Nor do they imply that the range of patients treated at Wycombe will be expanded’, so although it is appreciated that the services would be slightly more integrated, I’m sure we can be forgiven for calling it a sign change. With all due respect, you can pose outside an Urgent Care Centre before the next election but you won’t be thanked for it. As I have said before, we all deserve better, including you.

 You’re right, my intentions are pure, however there is more than ‘noble’ intentions behind this campaign and support only continues to grow because these downgrades have affected and continue to affect real people in your constituency.

 Not providing people with misleading information is very important, which is why on more than one occasion I have contacted you directly with regards to errors on your literature sent through the letter box.

I believe the letter sent to you showed an understanding of the challenges the NHS faces, hence why it included points about the urgent recruitment, training and retention staff etc.

I look forward to receiving answers to the questions and we are happy to look at journals with you. All I’ve ever wanted is for our MP to champion our needs and I’ve mentioned before that I wish to engage with you constructively. It’s time to step up and ensure that you make it clear to the Department of Health and the Treasury, that the people of Wycombe and surrounds deserve, and need, better.  The NHS is headed in the wrong direction with mass closures. People we have worked with through SOHS/Marlow PAG are already being impacted by the ‘pilot’ at their community hospital.  Please act urgently.

Whilst we continue to spend less of our GDP on health than our neighbours, I’m afraid concerns that the NHS is being deliberately set up for privatisation seem justified.

I attach a letter sent to local Councillors, so that you can read more about the community hospital ‘pilots’, facts like the cancelled operations at the John Radcliffe over the winter, and quotes from notable NHS figures.

Kind regards,



SB reply May17

We will be going back with numbered questions. Many remain unanswered.