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Dr Geoff Payne responds to campaigners over hospital changes
10:40am Friday 3rd February 2012 in Health
NHS chiefs have responded to campaigners' criticism of plans for Wycombe Hospital.
Dr Geoff Payne, medical director for the NHS Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Cluster, said emergency medical patients would be taken straight to a specialist team at Stoke Mandeville, so would no longer need to go through Wycombe's Emergency Medical Centre.
Measures have also been developed with hosptial doctors to keep more patients out of hospital.
He said: “By developing services in such a way that emergency patients get to the right specialist team, even if it takes slightly longer to reach them, we will improve outcomes - a National Audit Office review in 2010 found that specialist treatment at a major trauma centre can increase survival rates by 20%, whether or not patients had to travel further to reach them...
“The reasons we are making these changes is based on what we think is clinically best for patients. Because the other options we considered (including changing nothing) were not clinically acceptable to us as doctors, there was not a full financial analysis carried out on them.
"A financial analysis has been carried out on our preferred option and we are satisfied that it will be cost neutral, or release some savings over time....
"The proposals for Wycombe Hospital are intended to ensure its future as a provider of a wide range of general hospital services and as a base for specialist stroke, vascular, cardiology and breast services.
"We recognise that people have raised issues about travel and transport. Our proposals affect around 3% of Wycombe patients, most of whom will be taken by ambulance to the alternative hospital if they need inpatient care.
“We will continue to discuss with partners including Buckinghamshire County Council and the voluntary sector the transport needs of the small number of families and carers without access to a car to see what options can be developed...
"The proposals will decrease some patient journeys and increase others and we continue to work with Buckinghamshire’s health economy to understand the net effect.”
The statement adds that South Central Ambulance Service supports the proposals, which are aligned to Department of Health guidance, which is based on clinical evidence.