MAJOR specialities have been snatched from Amersham Hospital under cost-cutting plans, The Bucks Free Press can reveal.

Trauma and orthopaedics, ear, nose and throat clinics, plastic surgery, pain management and respiratory medicine have left the hospital since October.

Thousands of visits have since had to go to Wycombe and Stoke Mandeville, Aylesbury hospitals instead.

Hospital chiefs said they could not say how many were affected but said there were 4,903 attendances from April to December last year at the axed Amersham clinics.

It came after GPs were told to cut down on making "inappropriate referrals" of patients to other Buckinghamshire NHS Hospitals Trust sites.

The Trust said while this had a "minimal impact" on meeting its financial targets it also put tighter financial controls in place, such as reviewing and controlling vacancies.

This helped NHS Buckinghamshire, also known as the primary care trust, to break even for the first time last year.

Hospital trust spokesman Zosia Katnick said: “Referral rates for these specialties were falling as more patients were being seen closer to home within the community.”

She said half the people who use Amersham Hospital live closer to another hospital, with more than 30 per cent living closer to Wycombe.

Transport could be provided via the trust or charities, she said. Miss Katnick said there are ‘no confirmed plans for further changes’.

Yet Noel Brown, a cabinet member at Chiltern District Council, said: “I think it’s sad.

“People are having to travel further when they could provide a reduced clinic at the hospital.”

Plans for a super-GP surgery in Chesham – known as the Healthzone – were needed to take patients, he said, but this has been delayed.

Bosses have to use Amersham as they are bound by a 60 year deal with the private sector, costing £25m of its annual £176m budget.

A building firm paid for extensions to Wycombe and Amersham Hospital and the NHS is paying this back over decades, plus interest (see links, bottom of story).

But chiefs looked into getting out of this deal as demand for hospitals fell – but this proved too expensive. A planned care home for the site was rejected by council leaders.

Information about the axed clinics was provided after a Freedom of Information request by The Bucks Free Press.

We asked for information about all service changes at Wycombe, Stoke and Amersham after bosses said more clinics could have to go.

The other changes were the well-publicised removal of doctor-led births from Wycombe.

And, as previously reported, a specialist haematology ward went from Wycombe to Stoke in November.

It had been based in Wycombe since 2005 but bosses said a purpose-built ward was developing during this time at Stoke, including cancer beds for the first time.

About 65,000 people are expected to use Amersham Hospital this year.

Services still at the hospital are:





Oral Surgery.

Geriatric Medicine.

Audiological Medicine.








General Surgery.


Paediatric Dermatology.


Speech And Language Therapy.

Community Paediatrics.


Clinical Oncology (previously Radiotherapy).

Diabetic Medicine.


Occupational Therapy.

Vascular Surgery.

Midwife Episode.

General Medicine.

Chemical Pathology.


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