Petition with 10,000 signatures handed in to Downing Street to restore lost services at Wycombe Hospital
On Friday 20th May 2016 ‘Trust Me I’m a Doctor’ presenter and A&E doctor Dr Saleyha Ahsan handed in a 10,000 strong petition on behalf of campaigners to Downing Street.
Addressed to the Chancellor, the opening paragraph reads: ‘We ask you to ensure that Buckinghamshire not only receives the national average in funds, but we also receives enough public funding so that key services are restored to Wycombe Hospital‘.
The campaign aims to protect current services and see services such as A&E and full maternity restored to Wycombe Hospital.
The downgrades to the hospital began in 2005 and over the last two parliaments services such as A&E, full maternity and overnight children’s services have been stripped away. Instead the town now has a Minor Injuries and Illness Unit, a Cardiac and Stroke Centre, and a Midwife-led birthing centre for ‘low risk’ births.
More than 10 years on support for the cause is still strong. The 10,046 signature petition was submitted with a note reminding the Chancellor that it has regional support, is endorsed by many celebrities, has received support from an array of politicians, all 7 local MPs have shown some level of support and staff from neighbouring hospitals are rooting for it to do well.
The letter also mentioned that HS2 construction is likely to cause congestion on an already difficult journey to neighbouring Stoke Mandeville Hospital. The full text of the petition can be read at the following link : https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/fair-funding-for-buckinghamshire.
Campaign leader Miss Ozma Hafiz also sent a letter to the Prime Minister which included the facts that more housing is being built in Buckinghamshire and the population is set to rise. Flooding in 2014 and, whilst dealt with quickly, a fire at Stoke Mandeville in 2013 were also mentioned as arguments against mass centralisation of services.
Ozma said ‘There are so many reasons why we need more local services. From the urgency required in medical emergencies, to patients who are not being visited because their loved ones themselves aren’t one hundred percent healthy.
Our CCG are wanting to focus on prevention, but part of prevention is reducing the anxiety and stress caused by distance to services (as mentioned in last year’s Healthwatch report) and in providing easily accessible, local care.
Whilst there is some evidence that Cardiac and Stroke Units have better outcomes when centralised, I am yet to see any evidence that services such as respiratory, overnight children’s services, etc. are doing better since moving to Stoke. Nationally there is a drive to reduce hospital beds, however the UK already has less beds than most European countries.
This is a critical time for our hospital as decisions are currently being made about local service provision and the future of the hospital site. It’s crucial that we speak up. Everyone deserves good quality, safe, effective NHS services closer to home.
Centralisation of services has gone too far and with the new NHS ‘footprints’, we may lose even more local resources. Other hospitals are also at risk. Currently, certain vascular services are under threat even though we are said to have better clinical outcomes here.‘
Miss Hafiz also said ‘Buckinghamshire receives less funding per capita than much of the population and this is believed to be a root cause of our problems here. The NHS receives less funding per GDP than our neighbours, with better outcomes (Independent Commonwealth Fund report 2014).
Our petition will remain live until we get a suitable response.
Take part in #HandsUpForAHandBack if you think we deserve better by sending in your photos with hands in the ‘stop’ position. These can be as individuals or groups and will help get more people talking and keep the pressure on. Thank you to everyone who has helped thus far.‘
People can join the campaign by :
- Following @HandBackOurHosp on Twitter.
- Liking the FB page https://www.facebook.com/savewycombehospital/
- Emailing [email protected]
- Petition link https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/fair-funding-for-buckinghamshire