County puts block on health plan for Horton

The Horton General Hospital, Maternity Unit, in Banbury. NNL-160706-143655009

The Horton General Hospital, Maternity Unit, in Banbury. NNL-160706-143655009

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County councillors have today refused to back the plan that would see the downgrading of the Horton General Hospital.

Members of Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet accepted recommendations to reject the Oxfordshire Transformation Plan - which feeds into the controversial regional Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) - in its current form.

They said it was impossible to consider proposals to permanently end consultant-led maternity and close scores of hospital beds because the splitting of the consultation meant the knock-on effects would not be highlighted until the second phase in the autumn. This information would be necessary for the county council to gauge what the impact would be on council services.

“The lack of information about community services and general practice services means that the impact on council services cannot be accurately quantified,” council officers reported.

They said population growth had not been fully considered leaving adequate future provision in doubt.

“The proposals to reduce hospital bed numbers permanently at this scale seem premature without being specific about strengthened community services needed and it is suggested a ‘wait and see’ policy is adopted pending national evaluation of similar schemes.

“The document does not give a sufficiently comprehensive vision for the future of services at the Horton Hospital and in particular to maternity services so, again, it is not possible to draw firm conclusions about the future overall ‘shape’ of the Horton or the impact on council services in the north of the county from the information presented,” said the report.