Banbury views ‘left out’ of health scrutiny

Charlotte Bird and Keith Strangwood
Charlotte Bird and Keith Strangwood

Hospital campaigners in Banbury are furious that a search for members of Oxfordshire’s health services watchdog panel has yet again left north Oxfordshire without a voice.

Chairman of the Keep the Horton General Campaign, Keith Strangwood, was interviewed for a position on the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) but the two available co-opted positions were given to individuals from the south of the county.

Mr Strangwood was put forward for a position after the committee endorsed removal of emergency general surgery from the Horton General Hospital without any public consultation.

He has asked Banbury MP Sir Tony Baldry and county council leader Ian Hudspeth to intervene.

“As a previous member of HOSC for two years as a 
county councillor, I have witnessed most of the members make little or no contribution where Banbury is concerned,” he said.

“The remit of HOSC and its members is to scrutinise and contribute to the provision of health services in Oxfordshire.

“Banbury was still in Oxfordshire the last time I checked and as Oxfordshire’s second largest population town, containing a fully acute district general hospital, it should be represented – especially given the history of discord and threat to the Horton General. This must be resolved. Banbury has again been ignored and is left under represented with no real voice at HOSC.

“Although there are three members who live in Bicester, they do not have the same outlook as we do in Banbury.”

HOSC chairman Cllr Lawrie Stratford said: “All shortlisted candidates were interviewed and their answers and previous experience considered during selection.

“The two selected were done so unanimously.

“The committee has representatives (from) all over the county, including Cherwell, and all members are expected to consider issues from a 
countywide perspective, irrespective of where they live.”