Brackley voices fears about Horton downgrading plan

Brackley's Crown Hotel was packed for Monday's public meeting
Brackley's Crown Hotel was packed for Monday's public meeting

Brackley was promised this week that south Northants and south Warwickshire are part of the core population of the Horton catchment and will be looked after.

A packed audience filled a public meeting to discuss the Oxfordshire Transformation Plan, whose first phase declares aims to permanently relocate Banbury’s consultant maternity in Oxford, confirm closure of 45 medical and trauma beds and reduce critical care levels.

Cross border ambulance services are a big concern for Brackley residents

Cross border ambulance services are a big concern for Brackley residents

Individuals from Brackley and surrounding villages voiced concerns about

n Loss of consultant-led maternity in favour of a midwife only unit in Banbury

n Unreliable cross border ambulance cover and social care organisation affecting patients

n Overwhelmed departments at Oxford hospitals and alarm expressed by JR staff over increased pressure

The Horton's maternity unit which plans have earmarked for permanent downgrade

The Horton's maternity unit which plans have earmarked for permanent downgrade

n Distance to acute care and lack of public transport

n Population growth and loss of large numbers of beds and

n Horton downgrading appearing to be a ‘done deal’.

David Smith, Chief Executive of Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said said more data on travel times, provided by the South Coast Ambulance Service, are being worked on and will be placed on its website.

“We are taking account of the population growth,” he said.

“The process is that the CCG Board will need to make a decision. We need to take it on board if people say ‘we don’t want that’.”

Dr Kiran Collinson, a GP on the CCG panel, said 25-40 per cent of women giving birth at a midwife-only unit would need to be transferred to an obstetric unit.

“We need to have the processes in place to ensure (a mother) is transferred quickly and safely and those are the processes we are really looking at - how long it takes and theprocesses of the midwives establishing that there is a risk and getting in contact with the ambulance and getting that woman transferred as quickly as possible.

“We’re certainly not underestimating that part of the process. It’s one of the most critical parts of the entire pathway,” she said.

Members of the panel described the Oxford University Hospitals Trust’s (OUH) inability to recruit middle grade doctors which had compelled the hospital trust to temporarily remove the consultant-led service.

Chief nurse Catherine Stoddart said it was not possible to rotate doctors from the JR to Banbury because the Horton had lost its status as a training hospital for obstetrics in 2012.

OUH head of planning Andrew Stevens said: “We consider the population of south Northants and south Warks part of the core population of the Horton catchment and we have a responsibility to look after you. However some of those (cross border) services are run by different organisations and that’s part of the problem.

“It is more difficult to organise some of those onward movements for patients from one organisation to another when those patients are outside Oxfordshire and we are working very hard with our colleagues... to improve liaison in the neighbouring counties,” he said.

Mr Stevens said the trust did not believe loss of maternity materially affected being able to sustain A&E.

“We’re already doing so successfully and we believe that could continue,” he said.

Monday’s meeting was over-subscribed and the CCG has scheduled a second meeting to take place on Tuesday, March 21 from 6pm-8pm. To register call 01865 334638 or email cscsu.talkinghealth@nhs.net

Keep the Horton General campaign group is holding a public meeting on Thursday, March 2 at 7.30pm at St Mary’s Church, Banbury to discuss more of the detail in the transformation plan’s business case and how best the public can oppose the changes.

Guest speakers include Dr Peter Fisher, retired Horton consultant, national NHS campaigner Dr Youssef El-Gingihy and Banbury GP Dr Hugh Gillies.

For more details contact chairman Keith Strangwood on 07740 599736.