MP Steve Baker says plans to transfer several inpatient services out of Wycombe Hospital ‘could be positive’.

The Conservative member for Wycombe, who has called the town's hospital his 'top priority', said: “Of course I’d like world class, gold-plated services across the board, but I recognise both the clinical and financial situation - it’s not possible.”

“I believe the proposals, given the circumstances we are in, actually could be positive."

He pointed to the current ‘waste’ created at Wycombe’s Emergency Medical Centre, where only 30 per cent of those attending require admission to hospital.

The NHS in Bucks already pays for these patients to be registered with a GP, then pays again when they see a specialist A&E consultant at Wycombe, he said.

He urged “everybody who cares about Wycombe Hospital” to participate in a consultation, which was launched by the NHS Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Cluster this week.

The Cluster is consulting on plans to close 67 beds at Wycombe, with patients needing an overnight stay for medicine, respiratory, gastroenterology and diabetes services to be directed to Stoke Mandeville Hospital instead.

The hospital's Emergency Medical Centre would seemingly be downgraded to reflect these changes (see links below for full story).

Others have been critical of the proposals, including Sebert Graham, a Wycombe district councillor, who suffers from diabetes.

He said: “I’ve been to Wycombe for overnight stays and it’s an excellent service. I believe we need these services in High Wycombe. It’s crazy for them to move when we have the oldest and largest population in Buckinghamshire.

“It should be easy to get from here to Stoke but it’s quite a hectic run, and for people who haven’t got a car it’s very expensive.

“If the government are finding it hard to meet their budget how do they expect poor people to find money to travel extra mileage to Stoke Mandeville?”

John Barlow, who has campaigned to keep health services in south Bucks, said: “Clearly this represents a further reduction in the status of emergency services at Wycombe...This is most unwelcome and will be resisted.”

He said the plans “wave a limp passing hand at transport difficulties for patients”, and questioned whether staff would support the move: “The report implies that its recommendations have the total support of all clinicians and this must be seen as a very positive outcome.

"Ward level support is essential if it is to succeed; but is it really there?”