HEALTH officials have been asked to meet with Wycombe District Council in a bid to allay fears about the future of hospital services in the area.

There is continuing uncertainty about the future of Wycombe Hospital's A&E department since Prime Minister Tony Blair said changes to the NHS were a necessary step last week - days after telling Wycombe District councillor Julia Wassell that people should fight changes.

Cllr Tony Green (Con, Terriers and Amersham Hill) called for hospital chiefs to answer questions from the council's Improvement and Review Commission at a meeting on Monday night. He said: "The news doesn't seem to get any better, it seems to get more confusing.

"We had reports that Cllr Wassell was told one thing about health services by the Prime Minister, who then told everyone else something completely different.

"I think this council really needs to be looking more at the health service provided by calling in people and questioning them."

Almost 3,000 people have expressed their concerns about the future of Wycombe's A&E by filling out forms in the Bucks Free Press Don't Do It, Hewitt campaign aimed at safeguarding the future of the service.

The campaign was launched after Bernard Williams, the Buckinghamshire NHS Hospitals' Trust chairman, warned that changes could not be ruled out.

Sophie Copple, a spokesman for the Department of Health, said: "I don't think there is a contradiction in what Tony Blair is saying.

"If there are good reasons for hospitals staying in the community that should be the sensible approach, but it is the job of the Primary Care Trust and Strategic Health Authority to review the health provision in that community and put a consultation process in place if they feel that change is necessary."

Ms Copple said change could take many different forms and was a response to developments in medical treatment and technology, which means it could be more appropriate for people to be treated closer to home or at a specialist unit rather than at hospital.