ABOUT 40 per cent of clinics face the axe at Amersham Hospital – while overnight beds are closing in Marlow, it was revealed today.

Hospital chiefs said a cash crisis meant not enough patients were being referred by GPs to Amersham and clinics had to go.

And managers have temporarily closed Marlow Community Hospital to overnight admissions because the bed pan washer does not work.

We revealed yesterday how all these community-style hospitals are being reviewed – and today a review of major hospitals including Wycombe was announced.

Buckinghamshire Hospitals NHS Trust (BHT) last night released a list of specialities that would continue to be provided at Amersham.

This did not include current services orthopaedics and ophthalmology. See the bottom of this story for a full list.

The trust announced cuts three weeks ago but refused to name departments affected when asked by The Bucks Free Press (see link, bottom of story).

Patients will now have to go to Wycombe or Aylesbury or be cared for in the community.

Yesterday an exasperated councillor, Noel Brown, told managers at an another authority, NHS Buckinghamshire (NHSB), that the uncertainty was worrying patients.

Hours later BHT released the statement to the BFP.

It said: “Amersham Hospital is much smaller [than Wycombe and Stoke Mandeville hospitals] and therefore the reduction in referrals does have a bigger impact.

“However we believe that in total 60 per cent of clinics will be able to remain.”

Last night Cllr Brown said it was “sad” he had to make the public plea to “force” BHT to make the statement.

This was “too long for the staff and the patients to fear the worst” and will mean “unsustainable travel to High Wycombe or Stoke Mandeville” for patients, he said.

Cllr Brown, Chiltern District Council cabinet member for health, said: “Let’s get back to making it a patient led service.”

Pensioner Patricia Howard told BHT board members that “people in Amersham find is easier to park there” while Ryan Mellett said one OAP paid a £40 taxi fare to Wycombe. Bosses said some patients can get free transport.

Today BHT said regional health bosses were reviewing hospital services in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, raising the possibility of more changes at Wycombe Hospital.

This was because NHSB, which decides where cash goes, was short on funds, said chief executive Anne Eden. NHSB says it gets less Government cash than most.

She said: “We are having to respond to the downturn. Our order books aren’t what they were.”

Director of finance Tom Travers said NHSB has “run out of money” and was therefore sending fewer patients.

This has left BHT £3.6m in deficit this year – and it is now asking for a £20m loan.

Wycombe has already lost serious trauma A&E cases, doctor-led births and overnight children’s and gynaecology care.

Meanwhile, NHSB announced Marlow Community Hospital is to close to overnight patients because the bedpan washer has not worked for the last six weeks.

New admissions are to stop and existing patients will be “closely” monitored or discharged, it said.

Bosses said the move was needed to keep potentially dangerous infections at bay at the Glade Road hospital. Disposable bed pans and urinals were used until now.

An investigation found the problem to be an “old and leaking pipe” that was causing low water pressure.

Investigations are ongoing and no decision has been taken on repairs.

There has been concern about NHSB’s plans for community hospitals.

Last year it moved overnight beds from Chalfonts and Gerrards Cross Hospital to Amersham Hospital over fire safety concerns.

And yesterday it said all its community hospitals, also including Buckingham and Thame, would be reviewed as fewer patients are being referred.

It had previously stopped local GPs visiting patients at community hospitals in favour of one practice only and reduced hours.

An independent review yesterday said hours must be increased (see links, bottom of story).

Dr Paul Roblin, chief executive of the Buckinghamshire Local Medical Committee, which represents GPs, said NHSB had decide what to do with community hospitals.

He said: “They have to decide whether repairing Marlow hospital is a good investment.”

Specialities to remain at Amersham Hospital:




Oral Surgery and orthodontics.



Audiological medicine.




Speech language.



Community paediatrics.


Paediatric dermatology.

Occupational therapy.