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NHS responds to Dr Phillip Lee's 'super hospital' proposal
NHS chiefs in Bucks have responded to radical plans from a Berkshire MP to build a ‘super hospital’ within 20 minutes of High Wycombe.
Dr Phillip Lee, Conservative MP for Bracknell, has produced a 66-page report which calls for a ‘Royal Thames Valley Hospital’ to be built at Junction 8/9 of the M4 motorway (see related links).
This would mean Wycombe patients travelling up to the Handy Cross roundabout, and then south along the A404 dual carriageway.
Dr Lee sent the report to Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust [BHT], which runs the county’s hospitals, as well as GPs in the Chiltern Clinical Commissioning Group.
BHT said in a statement: “The Trust was approached a few months ago to provide one piece of information related to the physical size of Marlow Hospital, which we duly provided.
“However we have not had any other contact regarding Dr Lee’s proposal, other than a copy of his final report being sent to us.
“We believe that Buckinghamshire should have a strong, independent hospital available within the county – and we are confident that we can offer this through the network of services we provide across Wycombe, Stoke Mandeville and our other hospital sites.”
Dr Lee says his proposals are “very realistic” and the consultancy firm Deloitte published a report in the 1980s which made similar proposals for the region.
He is set to meet leading GPs and is in the process of securing a debate in the House of Commons on the issue of hospital centralisation.
NHS Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Cluster, which has been leading a major reorganisation of services in Bucks in recent months, said it was not aware of the proposals.
This organisation currently decides how health funding is spent, but is set to be disbanded by 2014 when GPs take over this role.
Medical director Dr Geoff Payne said: “We were not aware in Buckinghamshire of Dr Lee’s work and have had no requests for information from him.
“Had he been in contact, we would have been able to discuss our clinical thinking in Buckinghamshire.
“As part of Better Healthcare in Bucks, we considered the development of a new hospital but did not pursue this option because the strategic direction is to create more care in the community and closer to home and because of financial constraints, given that our hospital sites all have PFI buildings on them which still incur significant costs.
“With Dr Lee’s plans, we would also be concerned about the possible impact on the provision of acute services in Buckinghamshire. Given that we have not had an opportunity to discuss these issues with Dr Lee, we would welcome a meeting with him to explore this further.”