HEALTHCARE experts will answer claims the use of two Buckinghamshire hospitals should be changed to cope with a rise in infections throughout the county.

Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust is expected to comment on whether Marlow Community Hospital, on Victoria Road, and Thame Community Hospital, on East Street, should instead be prepared as ‘step-down facilities’.

The suggestion, posed by the Save Wycombe Hospital Campaign, demands answers as to how both hospitals were utilised during “the first wave of the pandemic”.

READ MORE: Leader hints at ‘closure of public services’ under new lockdown

The author suggests altering their purpose in light of ‘rapidly rising’ infection rates across the county.

Step-down care is understood to be available to patients recuperating from an illness or intervention, and to “help bridge the gap between hospital and home,” according to NHS England.

Buckinghamshire Council declared a “major incident” across the county on December 30, fearing local health and social care services could be ‘overwhelmed’ following a rapid rise in cases.

Council leader Cllr Martin Tett issued the stark warning, having finished a consultation with health service experts.

READ MORE: Bucks councillor ‘rushed to A&E after losing lots of blood’

Up to January 4, Buckinghamshire has more than 17,700 recorded cases. More than 580 new cases were reported the same day.

The weekly rate of confirmed cases per 100,000 residents has increased continuously since October 2020. The current weekly rate for the same population is 647, up to December 30, 2020.

“How were the Marlow and Thame hospital buildings used during the first wave of the pandemic?” asks the campaign.

“Would it be sensible to prepare to use them as step-down wards for Covid patients now that numbers in Bucks of Covid cases are on the increase again?”

The question has been sent to the Trust for a response during a January 7 Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee, according to council documents.

To view Buckinghamshire’s Covid-19 Dashboard, click here

We’ve launched a new Facebook group for local news junkies, politics fans and everyone who wants to keep up to date with the latest issues affecting Marlow and Thame. Please join the conversation over at Buckinghamshire Politics