COUNCILLORS said they want to know the future of health services for the elderly after hearing that a ward for old people could close.

Chiltern District Council said it will be writing to Buckinghamshire Hospitals NHS Trust because of fears the 22-bed Misbourne Ward at Amersham Hospital may close as a cash crisis at the trust takes effect.

The concerns follow uncertainty over Chesham Hospital. The future of the hospital, which looks after elderly people, has only been guaranteed for up to five years by the Chiltern and South Bucks Primary Care Trust.

At a meeting of the council on Tuesday evening, Cllr Chris Spruytenburg said he wanted a public meeting. He said: "In Amersham there is growing concern about possible closures at the hospital.

"It seems that the elderly have been targeted for cuts by the NHS. We should request a public meeting with the NHS trust to allay fears."

Cllr Margaret Hamilton added: "With the Misbourne Ward it sounds like they have already made a decision. It will have a large impact for all the older people especially with the concerns of Chesham Hospital.

"The needs of the elderly seemed to be being pushed aside. It should not be so as the Chilterns has an ageing population."

Chesham and Amersham MP Cheryl Gillan said the questions over health care had led to constituents flooding her postbag with letters.

Mrs Gillan said: "I do not think it is a question of putting elderly people aside but obviously I have got a lot of letters in and want an explanation.

"I wanted some advance warning about this as I understood there was going to be a consultation process going on regarding the Amersham ward."

Mrs Gillan said the Government must share the blame for any possible cuts. She said: "This government seems to say they have put lots of extra money into the health services but we cannot seem to find it and in fact things seem to be tighter."

The trust has to make £7 million of savings in the next six months.

It has been decided that two wards will close at another hospital it runs, Stoke Mandeville, which will lead to 22 fewer surgical beds.

A spokesman for the trust said: "Any cuts that are currently taking place relate to our financial state and the savings we are trying to make. We are trying to ensure that we do not impinge on any of our key services. However some cuts have to be made to alleviate the situation and that is why there have been cuts at a couple of sites across Buckinghamshire."