Extra 258 patients a week will use A&E at Stoke Mandeville

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STOKE Mandeville’s A&E department is set to be improved so it can treat 258 more patients a week, under plans being proposed by Buckinghamshire’s NHS.

The shake up is designed to make better use of existing facilities – for example all breast services will be moved out of Stoke Mandeville and based in Wycombe which will become a centre of excellence.

The plans will see the number of beds in Wycombe Hospital being reduced and 7,600 fewer patients a year treated there.

Stoke Mandeville will keep its current 467 beds and is likely to see an extra 258 patients a week in a ‘strengthened’ A&E department.

NHS bosses also aim to deliver more services in patients’ homes and in community settings such as GP centres or cottage hospitals.

Dr Geoff Payne, medical director of Bucks and Oxon NHS, said: “I realise that people often have strong loyalties to their local health services and are sceptical about change. However, healthcare advances all of the time and we need to take advantage of these developments if we want a 21st century NHS in Buckinghamshire.”

Steve Bell, secretary of the Bucks Health branch of Unison which represents NHS workers, said: “Whilst this might make sense to the service and be more cost efficient for the services it will cost those using the services more as they will have to travel further. It will increase the use of car journeys for users and staff who are asked to move. This makes it more difficult for the elderly, young and people with disabilities who are the main users of services. This is hardly ever taken into consideration.”

Those wishing to comment on the proposals have until April 16.