WYCOMBE MP Steve Baker has revealed he would like Wycombe Hospital's birthing centre to be transformed into an independently run 'co-operative' unit.

The move comes after Buckinghamshire Hospitals NHS Trust's confirmed the unit may close temporarily from August 1 for an interim period due to an “extreme” lack of staff.

Mr Baker will now quiz health bosses and NHS staff about whether they would be interested in becoming a 'public health co-operative' under mooted government plans.

If they approve, the midwife-led unit could become a co-operative unit - making it independent and free to deliver services based on the needs of its patients.

But any transformation could not happen until after government health reforms are put in place, which is not expected until the autumn.

New chancellor George Osborne made a pre-election pledge to allow public sector workers to form co-operatives to take control of public services, including nursing.

Mr Baker said: “Health providers would have to decide they want to be free of management control to meet the needs of the population. That is the most important step, it must be something they want.

“I can then work hard to make it possible. This idea is not impossible, it could happen under new government plans but the clinical professionals have to want it.

“We would love a golden plated General Hospital with full services, but at the moment the money is just not there.

“But I want clinical professionals to think of new, radical ways to deliver our health services. If they like the idea, when the government finalises its plans, we can seriously sit down and look at them.”

Mr Baker will also speak to Mike Appleyard, chairman of Buckinghamshire County Council's overview and scrutiny committee for health services, to ask the committee to look into the current running of the unit under the previous government's guidelines.