The Government is being asked to intervene in the crisis surrounding Wantage Community Hospital's future.

The appeal is being made after revelations of meetings by NHS managers who have been secretly discussing closure of the Garston Lane site.

Confidential documents were passed to the Oxford Mail last week by Wantage deputy mayor Andrew Crawford which revealed South West Oxfordshire NHS Primary Care Trust had studied plans to close the hospital.

In the confidential report, dated July 12, PCT assistant director of clinical services Jackie Adams recommended the site was earmarked for closure.

She said staff shortages left the hospital unsafe, while £800,000 of maintenance was needed to bring the buildings to NHS standards.

The report suggested seconding staff from other hospitals to Wantage for three to six months while running a public consultation about the proposed closure.

The revelation has caused alarm in Wantage and a public meeting is planned next Wednesday, although the venue has not yet been decided.

Town councillors have unanimously agreed to write to health minister Rosie Winterton, asking her to state that there is no intention to close beds and hospitals in south Oxfordshire, and to pledge to resolve staff shortages.

Earlier this year, Mrs Winterton said closure plans had been rejected.