In the same week that a petition bearing more than 10,000 signatures was presented to the Chancellor of the Exchequer asking that “Buckinghamshire not only receives the national average in funds, but also receives enough public funding so that key services are restored to Wycombe Hospital,” we learn that our local hospital may have its provision reduced even further.
Apparently a ward that cares for the frail elderly is next on the hit list. The aim apparently is to enable them to recover in the ‘safety and comfort’ of their own home.
A worthy aim, if a sufficiently high level of care can be guaranteed, but one has awful memories of the care in the community available to those released into a far from caring or prepared community when mental hospitals closed in the wake of of the Mental Health Acts of 1983 and 1990.
It is all about money. But Wycombe is a big enough town to justify an Accident and Emergency Unit, despite what our own MP says. Steve Baker (no relation) insists that the “return of an old-style A&E would take medical care backwards”. Well, maybe we want a new style A & E department, Mr Baker.
We are not asking for a Victorian medical service and understand that some emergency care can require larger centralised units, but something more sophisticated that the understaffed minor injuries unit and the childbirth facilities currently available in Wycombe is not a big ask.
Mr Baker went on to say that “more people would die in such a unit and that is why it’s not going to happen.” With the greatest respect to our serving MP, it is somewhat disingenuous to suggest that anyone is asking for that kind of provision.
What we are asking for is a better service than we currently have and indeed than we had ten years ago when it was closed.
It may be that some patients still have to make that horrid, slow journey to Stoke Mandeville, which also might lead to people dying, but let us repeatedly tell our political masters (for that is how they behave despite pretending to be our servants) that we want better for our children, our mothers and our old people and if that means a couple of pence extra tax, then so be it.
If it is about money, then let’s use those millions Mr Baker will save us by leaving the EU.