WYCOMBE Hospital could become the “centre of the local health economy” under early proposals to shake-up the town’s health services.
MP Steve Baker plans to commission a study to look into the plans put forward by Durrow to bring key health services under one roof.
Residents could visit their GP at Wycombe Hospital and the ambulance service could be relocated to Queen Alexandra Road, under some of the ideas floated by the health consultancy firm.
Mr Baker told the Free Press: “There are over 20 hospitals across the country like Wycombe, which serve a large enough population to have an A&E but are too small to retain it under the changes to medical practices over many years.
“The Durrow plan applies to these smaller hospitals – it purposes to make these smaller hospitals the centre of the local health economy to give you that 24/7 care for undifferentiated emergency patients, that is whoever turns up.
“We could get together GPs, the ambulance service, put in additional diagnostic equipment and make it the centre piece.”
Mr Baker said he had met with Health Secretary MP Jeremy Hunt and received clearance from IPSA to use his parliamentary allowance to launch the study.
He was also keen to point out the hospital proposals were just that at this stage, and appealed to residents and politicians to take them seriously.
Mr Baker added: “Once I have the report which will explain how it all would work, and the pros and cons of it, I will share it with the public.
“But there are two risks with that – the first is that people could think this is a decision which has already been taken, which is not true.
“The decision makers are within the NHS, that’s the Clinical Commissioning Group and the Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust. It will be a proposal for discussion and I would be looking for support for it.
“The second is that whatever I do people will attack it. I am well aware that we are going into an election but the NHS should not be used as a political football. We have to do what is best for the public.”
Mr Baker said the NHS needed to ‘stop talking to itself and listen to the public’, who want Accident and Emergency and 24/7 health care available to them.
He added: “I came into politics to do it right. If bringing A&E back to Wycombe Hospital was easy I would have already done it by now.
“Any politician who guarantees the public that they will bring back A&E to Wycombe is either a fool or a liar.
"To solve the problem in Wycombe we have to solve the problem of the NHS everywhere in England, which is something I am working on.”
Wycombe Hospital's A&E centre closed in 2005, before Emergency Care was closed in 2012 and was replaced by a 24/7 Minor Injuries and Illness Unit following a Free Press campaign.