A KEY group of Bucks doctors has “significant concerns” over an MP’s radical plan for a regional Thames Valley hospital.
Dr Phillip Lee, Conservative MP for Bracknell, is set to hold a meeting in High Wycombe tomorrow evening to discuss his proposals for a ‘super hospital’ at Junction 8/9 of the M4.
The plan would involve the closure and sale of whole hospital sites such as Wexham Park, as well as part closures at others, including Wycombe Hospital.
It has been welcomed by some Bucks campaigners, however, who think the new hospital would be a better option for Wycombe patients who currently have to travel to Stoke Mandeville for key services such as A&E.
But GPs who are set to take over the Bucks NHS budget have today listed several concerns about Dr Lee’s scheme.
Chiltern Clinical Commissioning Group [CCG] paid a private firm called Healthplanning to look into the proposals, and has today released its report.
Dr Annet Gamell, the CCG's chief clinical officer, wrote an open letter to Dr Lee which summarises the potential problems.
She said a ‘Royal Thames Valley Hospital’ would lead to a dramatically reduced level of acute services at Wycombe and Stoke Mandeville hospitals, whereas Berkshire would have two acute hospitals within its boundaries and two nearby.
To fund the new £750 million hospital from land sales at existing hospital sites is “highly optimistic”, the letter adds, as many have complex planning histories and selling them for development may not be straightforward.
Dr Gamell says the concept of larger ‘centres of excellence’ is acceptable to the public, but “it would be hard to justify the benefits of such a considerable shift in services”.
She says the CCG shares “much common ground” with Dr Lee about the clinical pressures driving the NHS, but sees developing the current network of hospitals within Bucks as a better option.
She adds: “Whilst Chiltern CCG has significant concerns about the impact of this hospital on our population, we recognise that your proposals are a serious contribution to what is a necessary debate about the future direction of health services in the area.
“We wish to continue to engage in this debate in a constructive and meaningful way, and welcome this opportunity to clarify our views.”
Healthplanning director Richard Mills, formerly of NHS Buckinghamshire, authored the CCG’s report.