PATIENTS needing specialised or complex care in Milton Keynes could be forced to go as far as Kettering to get treatment.
The latest analysis of hospital activity by the Healthier Together programme said that while the vast majority of acute health care services will still be dealt with at Milton Keynes Hospital, others may be carried out further afield at hospitals in Kettering, Northampton, Bedford or Luton.
This could result in two out of 10 patients being made to travel to get the hospital treatment they need.
It is also suggested that each hospital could become a centre of excellence for specific treatments, such as knee and hip replacements.
The report noted too that changes are needed to secure the ‘long-term financial and clinical viability’ of the hospitals.
However, no firm decisions about the future of hospital services have been made yet, with public consultation set to take place on these matters in spring 2013.
An NHS spokesman said: “This could mean some hospitals would see fewer emergency and complex patients in future but that would be balanced by them seeing more patients needing low risk surgery.
“In addition, all five hospitals would expect to see increases in activity because of population growth and as a consequence of people living longer.”
Healthier Together Programme Director Simon Wood said there is still a lot of work to carry out before any services are potentially cut.
He said: “From the initial analysis, it is clear that everyone across the south east midlands would continue to access the vast majority of their hospital care locally.
“There is still a considerable amount of work to be done to develop and refine the detailed activity modelling before we are in a position to prepare detailed proposals which will be the subject of formal public consultation.”