A health campaigner has hit back at claims there is “overwhelming” support for a controversial health hub scheme to be rolled out across the county, after a petition fighting cuts to health services in Bucks gathered thousands of supporters.

Last year Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust launched two community hubs in Marlow and Thame in a bid to streamline services and bring care closer to people’s homes.

Health bosses now say that there have been calls from residents and stakeholders to implement the scheme across Buckinghamshire following a six-month public engagement investigation.

However campaigner Ozma Hafiz says the trust appears to have “conveniently forgotten” about a petition launched last year which rallied together more than 3,000 signatures calling for “no more downgrades” to Bucks hospitals.

She also said claims the Bucks population has been represented during the consultation meetings is “absurd” as only six people turned up to the public meeting in Wycombe.

She said: “'I was surprised to read claims of 'overwhelming support' when we have recently resubmitted a petition of 3000 signatures.

“The petition reached our target of 1,000 in under two days and was submitted at the time however as signatures continued to grow as people learned of the pilot we set a new target of 3000 and this was quickly achieved.

“I know that only six people attended the Wycombe meeting so quite frankly saying that the population’s thoughts have been represented at these engagement events is absurd.

“How is the trust quantifying these claims of 'overwhelming support'? Positive experiences in outpatient type clinics are to be expected, we have to remember that outpatient clinics were also already held at Marlow and Thame before the bed closures and our NHS staff are fantastic”.

The community hub pilot drew criticism from campaigners after it was announced beds at Marlow Community Hospital in Victoria Road would not use the 20 inpatient beds and instead would use the space for other services.

Spokesman for the healthcare trust, Lesly Clifford, insisted teams have “consistently heard from patients” who want to remain independent and not go into hospital if possible.

She said: “Since the pilot started in April 2017, through prevention and early intervention, we have been able to support double the number of patients through their local community hospital than had been seen the year before, and around 900 patients a month are being helped to stay independent and in their own homes.

“If a patient has required an overnight bed, then this has still been available through our other community sites and through local care homes. We would urge Miss Hafiz to contact us with her concerns, so that we can look into the cases she has highlighted”.

She added the trust will be publishing a “more comprehensive report” and evaluation of the first year of the pilot before a final decision is made.