Last week, it was announced that the Wycombe Elective Surgical Centre (WESC) had been nominated by the regional NHS team for the prestigious national surgical hub accreditation program. I was glad to visit Wycombe Hospital to discuss the announcement with doctors there and the many positives it will bring to health outcomes for all in Wycombe.
You can read more about the announcement here:
In the context of this good news, I know that some will wonder why we are still without A&E in Wycombe. Of course, we would all like to see A&E return to Wycombe Hospital – me perhaps above all! – and it is a reasonable question to ask.
When Wycombe Hospital was built in the 1960s, the treatment for a heart attack was bed rest. With advances in medicine, many conditions including heart attacks are now treated in specialist units. Consequently, if you have a heart attack you are now five times more likely to live.
Specialised care spread throughout the county, including our specialised heart and stroke units in Wycombe Hospital, have dramatically improved outcomes for patients. Old-style A&E departments gave peace of mind, but were not able to provide the standard of care we demand today.
Unfortunately, specialisation to drive up quality means hospitals serve larger populations. So while I would love to have a full-service hospital in Wycombe, today’s quality of care implies we can have one set of services to serve the whole of the county.
Those services are of course divided between Wycombe and Stoke Mandeville. The practical reality is that we will not see Stoke Mandeville’s facilities relocated to Wycombe. Apart from any other factors, Stoke Mandeville is central to our county and there is not sufficient space in Wycombe.
Over the years, many of my political opponents have promised people in Wycombe that they will find a way to bring back A&E. Any such promise from a candidate in Wycombe is either terribly ill-informed or deliberately misleading. At the last election, even the Labour candidate had to admit, at the main hustings, that his campaign to return A&E was only a campaign. The people of Wycombe deserve better than cynical politics like that. That is why I have always been honest about healthcare in our town, whatever the political risks. I think you deserve that.
We have seen considerable progress in Wycombe since 2010, including delivery of the Urgent Treatment Centre and the nomination of the Wycombe Elective Surgical Centre for the national surgical hub accreditation programme. Healthcare here is better than it was in the past and improving.
I know how important healthcare is to everyone across Wycombe. Over the years, I have been proud to play my part in delivering care worthy of local people and I will continue to pursue your best interests.