STRUCTURE: Consultation has begun on a proposed reconfiguration programme in Buckinghamshire.

The Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire primary care trust cluster has proposed reconfiguring acute services into a single network between Stoke Mandeville and Wycombe hospitals. The network would link to Wexham Park Hospital and vascular services provided by Oxford University Hospitals Trust.

The Better Healthcare in Buckinghamshire consultation document emphasises that without reform, both NHS Buckinghamshire and Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust will come under financial pressure, which “will lead to an unacceptable deterioration in service quality”.

It says: “Because of the changes in staffing and other practices, to continue existing services on both sites would require complete duplication, at a cost of at least £2m per year for A&E alone.”

The proposals would centralise specialist inpatient care for emergency medicine, respiratory, gastroenterology, medicine for older people, and diabetes at Stoke Mandeville, supported by specialist services in Wycombe.

Meanwhile, Wycombe would house a centre of excellence for breast care.

Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust medical director Graz Luzzi said: “These proposals are all aimed at providing as much care as possible locally for the majority of people, while developing specialist care… for the small number of patients who need these services.”

He added that the community supported the principle of travelling further for specialist care.