Tag Archives: Marlow Community Hospital

Protest from where you are for Buckinghamshire’s hospitals!

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As individuals, couples or groups, please send in pictures with your hand in the stop position. You can hold up a message if you wish, e.g. no more downgrades, reopen beds. These will be joined together to form one protest picture.

We all know there has been a shortage of beds in the region. An important meeting (HASC) is taking place on Tuesday 24th April which could result in even more bed closures across Bucks!

Please send your pictures and quotes by 3pm on Tuesday 24th April to savewycombehospital@live.co.uk, tweet to @HandBackOurHosp, post on our FB page: https://www.facebook.com/savewycombehospital/

We need you to actively take part and show that you care!

Let’s make it clear that we want downgrades to stop and our hospitals restored!

This is a whole community friendly, apolitical campaign.



This winter has once again shown there is a shortage of beds in our region. Oxford cancelled operations this year and national patients have been affected at the National Spinal Injuries Unit in Stoke due to general patients taking over their beds. On Tuesday, the Trust will be presenting a report on the future of our hospitals to the HASC committee (https://democracy.buckscc.gov.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx…). 20 beds were closed at Marlow and Thame for a community hubs ‘pilot’ and this seems set to continue and be rolled out to other local hospitals such as Amersham and Buckingham. This could mean even more bed closures in Bucks!! We have less beds in Bucks compared to last year and Ward 5B at Wycombe Hospital was closed fairly recently too. It’s inevitable that if you downgrade hospitals, others will be overwhelmed!
We must show that we do not support further downgrades of our hospitals and want beds at Wycombe, Thame and Marlow reopened!
As most can’t attend the meeting in Aylesbury, we are asking you to protest from where you are! 

FB event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1733243850048157/

Attacks on our NHS

Yesterday we learned that Buckinghamshire is one of eight regions designated to become an ‘Accountable Care Organisation’. NHS campaigners have warned that these are based on an USA model of healthcare and are designed to set up our NHS for privatisation and a health insurance based system. The architect for these changes is Simon Stevens who spent 10 years working for United Health before becoming Chief Executive of our NHS.

We’ve gone from calling it a ‘Casualty’ unit, to an Urgent Care Centre, to an Urgent Treatment Centre however our MP has yet to explain what this actually means for our hospital. Our MP, Steve Baker, felt his stance on our hospital was ‘vindicated’ at the 2015 election. Questions about who would run the unit and whether GP surgeries would close need answering before anything is accelerated, along with what this will actually look like, and importantly, treat. Our current understanding is that it won’t treat anything additional. No doubt there will be politicians happy to pose outside a sign change to an Urgent Care/Treatment centre as though it’s an achievement, however they should be reminded that we have FEWER services than when our MP first came into power in 2010.

Threats to our community hospitals continue, with patients who would have been treated close to home, now taking up spaces in other hospitals like Wexham. Not one local MP has responded to emails with regards to Marlow or Thame. Yet the overnight bed closures have directly impacted someone our MP has worked with. In fact, some of Marlow forms his constituency.

We have long been concerned about the land at Wycombe hospital, given to Wycombe as a memorial to the Great War. This land on Queen Alexandra Road was given to the people of High Wycombe to honour those that died and to care for women and children. Our local STP mentions ‘estates’, and our Prime Minister has openly shown support for the Naylor review, which not only incentivises Trusts to sell their hospital land, campaigners feel it blackmails them to do so. Selling of our much needed hospital land, or disguising this under the guise of better housing for staff would be completely unacceptable.

Smaller, accessible, familiar GP surgeries are essential for vulnerable patients however this model is threatened with the private sector preferring ‘federations’ and larger centres/hubs.

We’ve helped spread the NHS message with regards to use of pharmacies as a first port of call for certain conditions, yet the threat on these hasn’t been removed.

Meanwhile services which have left Wycombe Hospital, struggle under the pressure.
Underpaid and demoralised by this government, staff are leaving our NHS. Well used, successful hospitals like Charing Cross are earmarked to be sold.

Our entire NHS needs saving. And it needs saving from this government. The decision to underfund our NHS is a political one and it comes from the top. Whilst the government would like to pretend that decisions are made locally, these are very much top down changes. It’s time for our MPs to step up. They won’t be forgiven when our NHS is gone. They won’t be forgiven if our hospital land is sold, or if our NHS is further privatised. We all deserve the best healthcare, and evidence shows that this is the NHS. Private health insurance will only cover so far, when a patient’s condition becomes complicated, it is the NHS which takes care of us.





Terry Price’s BBC Interview

On 1st April, highly praised wards at Marlow and Thame lost 20 overnight beds. More diagnostics are due to take place in ‘Community Hubs’ for a 6 month ‘pilot’.
On 5th April the BBC filmed Marlow resident Terry Price after our fantastically attended protest outside Marlow Community Hospital.
Terry Price, was hoping to receive care at Marlow hospital while his wife was having an operation, however due to the bed closures, was told that this wouldn’t be an option. He was filmed at a home outside of Marlow.
‘’I’m here for respite care because my wife has just had a serious operation so she couldn’t look after me in any way shape or form. She’s at home now and she doesn’t have any care coming in so you can understand why I’m extremely doubtful about this so-called trial the NHS are doing.
[Ideally this care would be at Marlow]. It’d be better for family, for visitors and everything else.
I’m here only because I kicked up, they were going to send me to Winslow of all places, which was 30 odd miles away from Marlow. I said no I wouldn’t go, so that’s why I’m here.’’
‘’It’s not particularly important, it’s extremely important because I don’t believe that they’re telling the truth. I believe this is a fait accompli. At the end of their so-called trial or consultation, they will finish up and they will say ‘Oh yeah, that worked well, so we’ll carry on’, without any sort of detailed results, which they’ve never ever given on any of their consultations. They have a nasty habit of saying, ‘Ah, that worked very well, we’ll carry on’ and they lie. We’ve had proof that they’ve lied in the past, when they told us about the A&E at Wycombe and Stoke Mandeville. Dr Payne at the time, in front of our MP, admitted that he lied and of course as everybody knows around here, Stoke Mandeville is still not fit for purpose.’’
”I’m extremely angry, that they are even considering this, because that place belongs to Marlow.  This hospital means everything to Marlow. And if they close the night service of the hospital in terms of care, they are saying ‘yeah they are better treated in their own home’. Yes they are, if additional care is there to help, but it’s not. I can speak from personal experience.
Speaking about a past experience using Marlow hospital Terry said the Marlow hospital staff were: ‘’Brilliant. I cannot fault the staff of the NHS. Nothing wrong with them basically at all. But the management…
[That hospital means] everything. And not just for me, it’s served my family, and people I know, it served them well, and it will continue to serve people well whilst it remains as it is. It is absolutely critical, not just for me, (which I would like to take advantage of at this moment in time, and also for my wife),  it is critical for all the people of Marlow and the surrounding area because it does as it stands serve an absolute need, which I doubt, in fact, I know, that the care won’t be in the community to do what they say they are going to do. It’s absolute paramount that they keep it as it is.’’

You can watch the BBC South Today news report here: https://www.facebook.com/savewycombehospital/videos/825795950906487/ 

Our petitions remain live:

Bucks NHS – Urgent Action Needed – An open letter to local MPs

Dear local MPs,

You will be aware that as a result of Buckinghamshire not receiving adequate NHS funding, Marlow and Thame lost twenty overnight beds from the 1st April for the ‘community hubs’ ‘pilot’. These bed closures are already affecting people and are likely to be rolled out to our other community hospitals. Bed closures in the county will impact other hospitals in and around Bucks, this affects us all.
This letter is a request that local MPs get together and take swift action to ensure our NHS urgently gets the funding it needs and that those beds are reopened. We must stop ‘Sustainability and Transformation plans’ (STPs) which will result in more hospital downgrades, including ‘1 in 6’ A&Es. Steps also need to be taken to restore Wycombe hospital to a fully functioning one once more.

The community hospital beds closed at the start of this month without adequate public consultation. At the very least there should be a thorough consultation on the whole of our STP plan. Whilst other councils are putting the needs of their communities first and rejecting STPs, once again Buckinghamshire County Council’s health scrutiny committee have failed the population of Bucks with their lack of scrutiny, (having not even looked at basic documents like Equality Impact Assessments before the changes). In fact, this past year’s HASC webcasts contain some somewhat embarrassing content.
At a time when (due to billions of pounds worth of cuts) social care is struggling, and hospitals site missing targets due to ‘bed blocking’ these closures defy common sense. In HASC’s March discharge enquiry meeting, it was discussed that ‘there are not the care home places for people to go into’, and that ‘some care homes won’t accept council funded patients’ so it’s bizarre that there wasn’t more challenge to the plans. Worryingly, not all the community services will be in place for the start of the ‘pilot’.

We engaged fully with the ‘Community Hub’ sessions and bed closures weren’t explicitly discussed. Our petition against further downgrades reached its 1000 signature target in under two days.[1] Our protest had a fantastic turn out.

These beds must be reopened quickly and the excellent staff teams redeployed.

Attached is an image of a child on a makeshift bed made of two chairs put together. It was taken at Stoke Mandeville just over a year ago, and whilst a difficult image to attach, was sent to local decision makers along with details of the experience. Unfortunately, nothing appears to have been done. We had a very difficult winter locally, with Stoke Mandeville in ‘Black alert’, requesting that patients who could go home to do so, and the John Radcliffe cancelling non-urgent operations.
The continued downgrade of the busy Horton General will increase the strain on Oxford’s John Radcliffe. 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. People have faced many difficulties 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. The UK already lags behind many countries in terms of bed numbers.

GP surgeries like Lynton must be given the resources to be open full time again and urgent action needs to be taken to ensure the recruitment, training and retention of staff. 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.

Further hospital downgrades and dissemination of our NHS must be halted.

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?
Evidence shows that the NHS is the most cost effective, efficient health care system in the world. 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. Our last letter from the Department of Health mentioned £10bn going into the NHS however this has been disputed, including by the parliamentary Health Select Committee. There is evidence that investing in health results in economic growth [2]

A study at Oxford states that ‘30,000 excess deaths in 2015’ were ‘linked to cuts in health and social care’. [3]
It is time, as our MPs, that you truly champion our hospitals and NHS. I’m aware that an election has been called, but quite frankly this can’t wait until July/September and beyond.

On behalf of concerned residents of Buckinghamshire,


Miss Ozma Hafiz

Email: savewycombehospital@live.co.uk

Blog: www.savewycombehospital.co

[1] https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/no-further-downgrades-of-buckinghamshire-s-hospitals-including-community-hospitals

[2]  http://globalizationandhealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1744-8603-9-43

[3] http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2017-02-20-30000-excess-deaths-2015-linked-cuts-health-and-social-care

20 Comments for 20 Beds

20 overnight beds will be closing at Thame and Marlow Community Hospitals. Here are 20 comments, and a link to more.

*Far too many beds closed already within the Trust – Suzanne Busby

*We cannot afford to lose a single bed in Bucks NHS Trust. Increased housing in the area MUST put additional pressure on infrastructure and staff , coupled with cuts to care in the community in Bucks is putting the health of local residents at great risk. – Paul Shorten, Aylesbury

*Closing Marlow and Thame seems to go diametrically against the expressed intentions in the budget speech to put money in to ease bed blocking.  The facilities are already there.  Don’t close them now in order to replace them shortly after. There is already a FAR TOO GREAT RELIANCE ON AMBULANCES IN BUCKS! – Agneta Taylor

*Marlow community hospital has been fantastic many of my family have had to use it over the years. I still remember visiting my Grandma and she was having a chat with another old lady she knew from years ago. And a lady in another bed I worked with in Burgers. True community hospital.

What Marlow offers is a way for family to visit their relatives without having to arrange transport to another town. As people get older they don’t always drive. My aunt was able to walk daily to visit my Uncle with terminal cancer –  Claire Carter

*To whom it may concern ,
Why on earth are you closing hospitals when we desperately need extra beds especially in the rehabilitation  sector. Keeping beds in places like MARLOW Cottage Hospital would release scarce hospital beds. Please save MARLOW Cottage Hospital – Mary Roderick

*It is imperative that the above [Marlow Hospital] maintains its inpatient facility. – Rosemary Parfett

*Frankly, I find it absolutely appalling that our hospitals are being treated with such contempt.  It is as if we have no need of them in the real world.

Please DO NOT take away any more of our much-needed facilities at ANY hospitals.  All the staff I have met, and that is quite a few over the past twenty years or so, are so hard-working and dedicated – why are you trashing their efforts?

PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT THE CORRECT FUNDING IS IN PLACE AND CURB THE ABYSMAL WASTE, which has been apparent from the instigation of the NHS, when my father took a position as a group accountant, in 1948.

Of course there will be too much demand on the remaining A & E departments, when silly people at the top, with their own agendas, keep thinking they know better and close those near to where people need them.  A degree of intelligence would not come amiss in our so-important NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE. Most sincerely, – Mrs Catherine Branson, Marlow

*Open everything back up again including A&E, like it used to be. I’m fed up with traveling 17 and a half miles away to go to hospital when Wycombe General Hospital is right on my door step – Robert Charles

*My concerns with the almost closure of Wycombe General Hospital is because with all the houses being built in and around High Wycombe, we need a Hospital close at hand, it has always covered not just for High Wycombe itself but a wide radius to include other towns and villages.
Something has to be done to keep it up and running to its highest potential. Please keep it open –Valerie Ryder, Downley

*Having had my medical insurance increase by 50 % all because I had cancer and required tests, a major operation and follow up care. I will not be lining the pockets of this evil company, ANY MORE!!! I have been doing so, for over 30 years, with hardly any claims!!! Where are “they” when you need “them”???

I have joined this campaign NOT just for me BUT EVERYONE who relies on the brilliant, totally over stretched NHS. – Jil Runge, Wheeler End

*For God’s sake will somebody in NHS Authority recognise that with increasing local population we need a full blown Hospital including A&E. – Ralph Briars

*Bucks Hospitals Trust has been systematically closing and downgrading hospitals for years. In Wycombe we have seen the removal of A&E, closure of maternity services and now the downgrading of Marlow’s cottage hospital. It’s got to stop – John Barlow

*Dr Geoff Payne and the NHS have consistently lied to the people of Wycombe and Marlow. The NHS and Overview and Scrutiny committee are not looking after the people of Buckinghamshire. All the Scrutiny committee are doing is agreeing with officials. It’s about
time Steve Baker woke up and started fighting for the people of Wycombe. He is there to serve the people of Wycombe – Terry Price

*In my 28 years nursing experience I have seen all too often when ignorant, politically motivated bureaucrats try to hoodwink the electorate into saying that closure of Community hospitals are for sound economic reasons. But in fact the truth is that they are usually, really much better value for money, regardless of all the benefits to patients, staff and local jobs. There are plenty of examples cited in the professional journals; Kings Fund, BMJ, Nursing Press etc – Rebecca P

*I needed one of these respite places some time ago but was kept for days in a specialist ward where I was bed-blocking because there was not a space available.  – C.J.L

*30 years ago the NHS had 300,000 hospital beds. It now has 150,000! Community hospitals provide REAL CARE!! – Sara P

*Elderlycare seems to be the first place where cuts are made, yet these people deserve to have a service close to them after contributing to the NHS all there lives – Dan L.

*Because I worked in a local community hospital and am in despair – Sheila M

*My father was in ward 5b at Wycombe Hospital. He received excellent care and now the ward is being closed. Unacceptable for a community of the size of Wycombe for this to happen! – Kevin S.

*Community Hospitals are essential, especially for the elderly. I know this little hospital and it’s first class. – Yvonne C

Our petition:  No further downgrades of Buckinghamshire’s hospitals – including community hospitals reached its 1000 signature target in under 2 days! Further comments can be found on the petition.

Email = savewycombehospital@live.co.uk