A DECISION on whether a probe is launched into A and E at Stoke Mandeville - as called for by over 15,000 people - is expected to be announced next Thursday.

The plea for an investigation, which came through a Liberal Democrat petition, was put on ice at Buckinghamshire County Council's Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee last meeting.

Cllr Julia Wassell, who spearheaded the campaign, was unhappy that the probe was put on hold at the time.

The decision to defer was made to wait to hear the results of The Keogh Review. The national report, prompted by high death rates, was published shortly after and outlined major failings at Bucks' hospitals, which were placed into special measures.

On Thursday, the committee will be hearing the preliminary report from its working group, set up in light of the review, to address the highlighted weaknesses at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust.

Cllr Darren Hayday, independent, has set up another petition, which has gained 2, 365 names so far.

It calls for Wycombe Hospital's A&E unit, which was shut in 2005, to return.

He said: "My main aim is to get A and E in some shape and form back to High Wycombe over and above the very basic out of hours service we currently have with minor injuries unit."

He has cast doubt on the powers of the select committee, established this year, to hold health chiefs to account.

"At the end of the day it doesn't have any real teeth," he said.

"I'm not confident that there will be any more than a slap on the wrist at that meeting."

He also fears the Lib Dem petition will not have the desired impact.

Committee chairman Cllr Lin Hazell said: "Monitoring the quality of local hospital services is a key part of the select committee's scrutiny role, and the working group was established so that we could look in depth at the conclusions of the Keogh Review and how these could be addressed."


The public meeting will be screened live on the council website: