HEALTH bosses were lambasted tonight for sending no one to face questions from members of the public worried about the future of Wycombe Hospital.

Speakers slammed The Primary Care Trust and NHS Buckinghamshire for saying nobody was available to attend, describing their decision as “appalling” and “scandalous”.

Around 200 residents attended the meeting at Great Marlow School, Bobmore Lane, Marlow, which was organised by Marlow People’s Action Group.

Many expressed their fears for the future of Wycombe Hospital and Marlow Community Hospital in Glade Road - despite strong denials this week from health chiefs that either is in danger.

But the meeting was dominated from the outset by accusations that both health bodies lacked accountability.

John Barlow, a former PCT non-executive, said: “I don’t think we should let it pass that our officials from the hospital trust are not here. Personally I think it’s absolutely appalling.

“Marlow Bottom had a meeting there months ago and surprisingly enough Anne Eden couldn’t come to that meeting but she did send a director.

“We pay these people a fortune, we expect them to listen to us and they don’t. It’s absolutely unacceptable.”

His tirade was met with loud applause.

Steve Guy, a Wycombe District Councillor and prospective Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Wycombe said it was “absolutely scandalous”.

Jeremy Miles, prospective Labour parliamentary candidate for Marlow, said: “It struck me when I heard the PCT weren’t here that this is exactly the kind of meeting they should be organising themselves.”

He said people were feeling “fearful and left out of the decision making process”.

He accused the trust of lacking “long term vision” and taking a “sticking plaster approach” instead.

MP Paul Goodman, who is stepping down at the pending election, said: “My view is that this meeting would have been greatly improved if they had been here for this meeting.

“I very much wanted to come because health and Wycome Hospital in particular has been the real distinct issue for me as an MP.”

Mr Goodman, said: “One big problem is really we have had so much change in local health services, it’s like the perpetual revolution of Mao’s China.”

He said Wycombe “becoming a self governing foundation trust would help enormously”, adding “local commissioning needs to get back in to the hands of GPs and out of the hand of the bureaucrats.”

Conservative Mr Goodman was warmly applauded after Mr Barlow, a Labour agent, hailed him as a “fantastic MP” and said if his replacement “does half as much as Paul does for us we will be lucky.”

In a joint statement to the Free Press yesterday Buckinghamshire Hospitals NHS Trust and the Primary Care Trust said: “We'd like to reassure the public there are no plans to close Wycombe Hospital, in fact we're seeking to improve facilities here.

“This includes ensuring our most modern accommodation is better utilised for direct patient care.”

The organisations cited investment in its endoscopy unit and development of a GP-led health centre.

The statement read: “NHS Buckinghamshire would like to reassure local people that we are not planning to close Marlow Hospital.

“We will be reviewing and growing community services to best meet the needs of Buckinghamshire residents.

“We will be working with local people to review services and deliver high quality care closer to home.

“Unfortunately we are unable to attend the meeting. We have written to the Chair to explain this and to offer the opportunity for an alternative meeting with his group.”

Call 0800 328 5640 to give NHS Buckinghamshire your views.