Oxford

Horton maternity unit downgrade to be reviewed

Horton General Hospital Image copyright OUH
Image caption A meeting in December will review the downgrade

The downgrading of the maternity unit at Horton General Hospital in Banbury will be reviewed in December.

It has been redesignated as a midwife-led unit due to a shortage of doctors.

Documents from Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust also show a "recruitment challenge" with special care nurses.

Next month its board will decide whether it is "feasible" to reopen obstetric services in March 2017.

A petition with 17,000 signatures against the downgrade was delivered to the board in August.

Image caption Campaigners have led a series of protests against plans to temporarily change maternity services

The unit needs nine doctors, and an update for the trust's board says the "most likely scenario" would see four out of nine posts filled by mid to late November, with a new doctor starting February 2017.

It also says two special care nurses have resigned and a number of other staff have said they do not "wish to return to the Horton".

A minimum of 12 special care nurses is needed to operate the unit.

Last month, chief executive of Oxford University Hospitals Trust Dr Bruno Holtof said: "Patient safety must come first, and of course we cannot run the obstetric-led service without the staff for it to operate safely."

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