MORE services could be axed from Wycombe Hospital – leading the town’s new MP to pledge to ‘fight to keep what we’ve got’.

A major consultation on the future of hospital in Buckinghamshire and Berkshire is to be launched in the coming months that will radically re-shape services.

No details have been given of service affected – but Wycombe MP Steve Baker and bosses have pledged to fight to keep stroke, cardiac and vascular care.

It comes little over six months after doctor-led births were stripped from the hospital and five years after serious trauma cases were removed from A&E.

Mr Baker said: “I’m afraid it does look like we are going to have to fight to retain these services.”

The MP, who met county NHS bosses last week, said: “It is to be regretted that we have to fight to keep what we have got.

“I am determined that we should secure services at Wycombe Hospital.”

And Steve Bell, spokesman for the Unison union, said: “We would argue that this is less efficient for staff and patients.

“The travel for vulnerable clients is exceedingly difficult in Buckinghamshire.

“Our hope is that decisions are made they are based on clinical reasons rather than looking at the savings that can be made.”

A report on the new plans says it ‘may mean that acute hospital services may need to be provided on a larger scale at fewer sites’ in the two counties.

The ‘Care for the Future’ scheme is driven by advances in technology that allows care to be provided closer to home, longer life expectancies and more demand from the public but less cash, it says.

Warning that Bucks already gets less cash than the rest of the UK, the report says: “Funding is being hit by the economic downturn.”

It said some conditions requiring ‘highly specialised care are best treated in specialised centres’ with fewer people needing overnight care.

And while the new Government is re-examining similar changes already taking place ‘it is clear this does not mean an end to change but that a different emphasis will be expected’ it says.

This will be based on what doctors, local people and authorities want, clinical evidence and ‘in support of patient choice’.

Buckinghamshire Hospitals NHS Trust chief executive Anne Eden said hospitals are ‘going to look very different in the future’ and we ‘radically need to look at the way we are operating’.

She said: “It is a policy direction, it is the way we are going nationally.”

Pointing to need for a ‘critical mass’ of patients needed to keep a service, Miss Eden said: “Bigger numbers make for better outcomes.”

Asked about Wycombe Hospital by The Bucks Free Press, she said: “It may mean more services need to be centralised in future.”

She said: “Gone are the days when we try to do everything, to do all things to all men.”

But said she wanted to keep stroke, cardiac and vascular care. This could see other hospitals in Bucks and Berks lose the services, with patients coming to Wycombe.

One procedure, primary percutaneous coronary intervention, which treat heart attacks, was threatened last year but has now been saved. Yet this will be reviewed along with other services under ‘Care for the Future’.

Bosses suggested stripping the service – where a balloon is inserted into clogged arteries -from Wycombe and send patients to Oxford, Uxbridge and Reading.

Claire Blakeway-Phillips, assistant director, partnership development at NHS Buckinghamshire, said: “We listened to feedback and changed these options accordingly with a better outcome for people locally.”

The service will remain open from 8am to 6pm, as it was before, after an outcry from MPs.

The authority took over management of community workers such as district nurses from the NHS Buckinghamshire authority, also known as the primary care trust, in April.

It hopes this will enable it to improve the patient’s journey in the community and hospital, cutting waste.

Click the links below for the NHS report on the plans and our health stories.