Council backs hospital campaign

By Sarah Edwards at

The campaign against the downgrading of critical care and maternity services at the Horton General Hospital has received further backing from the council.
Cherwell District Council’s executive approved a report affirming the council’s position on proposals to transfer services from the Horton General Hospital, in Banbury, to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. The document sets out the council’s position to date and proposes further actions.
It came just days after the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee voted to refer the temporary closure of Banbury’s consultant-led maternity unit to the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP. That decision was unanimously carried at a meeting on Thursday, 2 February.

Cllr Barry Wood, leader of Cherwell District Council, said: “The campaign to protect hospital services for the people of north Oxfordshire is uniting people from across the political spectrum. The vote to refer the fate of the Horton’s maternity unit to the Health Secretary is a welcome boost, as was Monday’s decision by Cherwell’s executive.
“As the district council we do not have the power to decide which services the Horton hospital will retain. However, healthcare is the most essential of all public services and, as representatives of a very large and growing catchment area, we must do everything we can to ensure that our constituents’ voices are heard and their best interests represented.
“Forcing women in labour and dangerously ill patients to be rushed to the John Radcliffe significantly reduces their chances of positive outcomes. For this reason, the council is continuing to support the #Banbury2JR campaign, to collect data about the length of journeys people face when travelling to Oxford hospitals.”
The proposals are being put forward by the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, which is running a consultation on the proposed changes. Cherwell has reiterated its opposition to the fact that the consultation is being conducted in two stages.
Councillors noted that splitting the consultation in two would make it harder for residents to properly make their views known, and harder for them to know what the ultimate outcome of the changes would be.
Cherwell is also working with healthcare specialists to support its response to the downgrade.
The #Banbury2JR hashtag is being widely used on social media and the survey is available to complete at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/HQ55BQB