PLANS to remove several inpatient services from Wycombe Hospital will produce better results for patients, say NHS chiefs.

The plans, published by the NHS Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Cluster this week, have also been approved by the hospitals in Bucks, the county's GP consortium and South Central Ambulance Service (see links below for full story).

Dr Graz Luzzi, medical director for Buckinghamshire's hospitals, said a public engagement process in the Autumn had been broadly supportive of the plans.

He added: “These proposals are all aimed at providing as much care as possible locally for the majority of people, while developing specialist care with high quality outcomes for the small number of patients who need these services.

"Our engagement and involvement process demonstrated that people understand and support these principles - they want care closer to home, when this is appropriate, and understand why they might need to travel further for specialist care.

"We hope that people will look at our proposals and have confidence in what we are suggesting. They have been developed by doctors and their clinical colleagues on the basis that they will give patients the best experience and the best results, now and in the future.”

The proposals say the current duplication of services at Wycombe and Stoke Mandeville is unsustainable, and merging clinical staff at Stoke will create improved, specialist medical wards.

With inpatient medical beds no longer provided at Wycombe, patients with emergency medical conditions would be redirected to an expanded A&E ward at Stoke Mandeville.

Health chiefs say ‘acutely unwell’ patients currently admitted to hospital at the weekend have to wait until Monday to be seen by their specialist consultant. They say the mergers are “potentially life-saving”, as they would introduce 24/7 enhanced consultant-led services.

Meanwhile, it is thought many hospital admissions could be prevented altogether, so some medical patients currently seen at Wycombe could be seen at home by a GP, or at a community hospital.

There are also huge improvements to be made in terms of reducing the time some patients spend in hospital. Elderly patients in Buckinghamshire have an average stay in hospital of 22 days, compared to a national average of 13.

Dr Geoff Payne, medical director for NHS Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Cluster said: “During our consultation phase, we will work hard to reach as many individuals and organisations as possible, to discuss our proposals and hear what people think."

See link below for the full consultation document.