Banbury hospital maternity reduction plan fears

Horton General Hospital Image copyright OUH
Image caption The report acknowledged plans to downgrade maternity services at Horton General Hospital had met 'significant public opposition'

Plans to downgrade maternity services at an NHS hospital have met "almost universal" lack of support in a public consultation.

Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) has published the findings of a major listening exercise.

It included a proposal to permanently replace the obstetric unit at Horton General Hospital in Banbury with a midwife-led unit.

OCCG said a decision on the consultation options is due in August.

The report looked at feedback from the first phase of a consultation on proposals to transform Oxfordshire's health services to plug a £200m shortfall by 2020-21.

Aside from changes to maternity services in Banbury, the document included moving stroke services and some critical care patients from the Horton General Hospital to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

A plan to invest in other areas of the Banbury hospital was also consulted on.

'Considerable criticism'

The report said respondents were "overwhelmingly" in favour of expanding services at the Horton General Hospital, and a majority agreed with moving some critical care beds to Oxford.

OCCG's consultation process has been criticised; Banbury MP Victoria Prentis previously said it was "fatally flawed" and Cherwell District Council requested a judicial review.

The concerns were noted in the report which said there had been "considerable criticism of both the consultation process and documents."

It also accepted that concerns had been raised over "OCCG's commitment to listening to people's views".

A "widespread frustration" at public transport access to Oxford, and hospital parking at the John Radcliffe and Horton General Hospitals was also reported.

OCCG said 10,000 responses were received in the 12 week consultation, and more than 1,400 people attended meetings.

The findings will be presented to its board on 20 June 2017 but decisions are not planned to be taken before 10 August 2017.

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