A NEW study into urgent healthcare in High Wycombe will go ahead after a unanimous call to drill deeper into the effect of hospital changes on residents.
Wycombe District Councillors sitting on Bucks County Council’s Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee (HASCSC) are unhappy over the extent of a recent report into urgent care in the county.
The four committee members representing wards in the Wycombe District voted against approving the report, which was set up in the wake of the Government’s Keogh review of hospital services.
Cllr Tony Green and his colleagues claim more needs to be done to hear from residents in the Wycombe area before any comprehensive countywide report can be completed.
And last night WDC voted unanimously to launch a separate probe to understand the full effects of changes at Wycombe Hospital, including the closure of the Accident and Emergency department in 2011.
Cabinet member Cllr Green said he recently made use of the Minor Illness and Incident Unit (MIIU) at Wycombe and was impressed at the speed and efficiency of the system.
And proposing the WDC study, he said it was vital to improve people’s awareness of the MIIU, which he claims many residents are simply not aware of.
He said: "I am pleased to be one of this council’s representatives on the Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee looking into urgent healthcare in the county.
"However, the investigation did not go far enough and now this council should do further work itself.
"We have a minor incident unit in Wycombe, but most people go to Stoke (Mandeville) when they may be able to receive treatment in Wycombe. No work has been done to see how many of these cases at Stoke Mandeville could have been successfully treated at Wycombe.
"The people of Wycombe deserve a care system they understand. We have a system that could care for many of our residents but it is hidden and people do not know it is there."
In addition to the WDC probe, Wycombe MP Steve Baker has commissioned a study exploring the possibility of bringing more key services together under one roof at Wycombe Hospital (see this week's BFP for a full report).
WDC’s own study is expected to feature a ‘public listening event’ in the district to gather residents’ views and experiences of A&E in the county and also at MIIU.
Cllr Jean Teesdale, who also sits on the county healthcare committee, said members want to hear from as many people as possible to help feed their experiences back to county level.
As part of the probe, evidence will also be gathered on transport between Wycombe and Stoke Mandeville and the realities facing frail or elderly people in accessing services.
Last year, a 16,500-strong petition from Wycombe Liberal Democrats, spearheaded by Cllr Julia Wassall, called for action over A&E services and helped spark a review from the county council body responsible for overseeing healthcare.
But Cllr Wassall said the report wasn't detailed enough and needed an input from patients using hospitals in the county - particularly those in the Wycombe area - after Accident and Emergency services were axed from Wycombe Hospital in 2011.
However, HASCSC chairman Lin Hazell said the inquiry found care services to be "designed in the interest of better outcomes for all residents and tailored to the needs of the Buckinghamshire population."
Wycombe MIIU can deal with cuts and bruises, sprains and strains, bites and sting, scalds and minor burns and suspected fractures, among other minor injuries.
However, seriously ill or injured children should be taken straight to the nearest A&E ward - Stoke Mandeville or Wexham Park - along with serious head injuries or loss of consciousness.