A 6,000 strong petition entitled ‘Fair Funding for Buckinghamshire’ was sent to Downing Street on Wednesday 25th March 2015.
Addressed to the Chancellor, the petition set up by High Wycombe campaigner Miss Ozma Hafiz reads: ‘We ask you to ensure that Buckinghamshire not only receives the national average in funds, but we also receive enough public funding so that key services are restored to Wycombe Hospital.
For a substantial amount of time now, Buckinghamshire has received less funding per capita than most of the country for our hospitals. This ‘cash-starving’ or ‘squeeze’ contributed to downgrades at Amersham and Wycombe hospitals and our Trust has recently been in ‘special measures’. Since the downgrades at Wycombe hospital, many people have suffered and neighbouring hospitals have been overwhelmed. Staff, patients and their loved ones deserve better.‘
Downgrades to Wycombe Hospital started in 2005. A&E, full maternity and overnight children’s services have been removed from the town. Stoke Mandeville and Wexham Park Hospitals were both put into ‘Black Status’ over the winter.
Gabby Logan has shown support for the campaign and her hand photograph is incorporated in the campaign mosaic made last year (pictured).
Several celebrities have retweeted the Fair Funding For Buckinghamshire petition including Fern Britton, Steve Hewlett, Linford Christie, Debbie McGee, Anna Acton, Robert Lindsay, Myles Mordaunt and Fiona Phillips to name a few.
The Twitter account SaveWycombeHospital @HandBackOurHosp run by Ozma can boast interaction with many more celebrities and support for the cause continues to grow.
The campaigner said: ‘The independent Commonwealth Fund report ranks our NHS as number one even though we spend less money per capita on health than our neighbours.
Everyone deserves easily accessible, safe healthcare services. There are many ways in which distance makes a difference and it’s time that care really is ‘closer to home’. Lines were crossed when services were taken away from High Wycombe and underfunding is believed to be a root cause of our problems here. Staff, patients and their loved ones deserve better.
The petition is designed to protect what we have and restore vital services. Downgrades and closures inevitably add pressure to neighbouring hospitals.
I’d like to thank everyone who has supported the campaign so far and hope a lot of good comes from all our hard work. As ever, I’m hopeful that common sense will prevail and we’ll see a return of services here.‘
Comments from some of the 6,120 who signed the online version can be read on the petition and it is still possible to sign at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/fair-funding-for-buckinghamshire which can also be found on the web page www.savewycombehospital.wordpress.com along with the mosaic. People are being encouraged to keep their hand posters up in their windows as part of #HandsUpForAHandBack.