Cross border health care in doubt, says former Banbury MP

Sir Tony Baldry, former Banbury MP
Sir Tony Baldry, former Banbury MP
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Banbury’s former MP, Sir Tony Baldry has accused health chiefs of sidelining GPs in downgrading plans for the Horton.

He said Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) also appears to be discounting patients in South Northants and South Warwickshire from its plans.

“Banburyshire GPs seem to have effectively been sidelined and the OCCG and neighbouring CCGs have clearly decided that cross-border transfers are too complicated and wherever possible, to be discouraged,” he said.

“One of the factors that was clearly important to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel in 2008 was that the Horton served a catchment area which largely straddled county and administrative borders... so at least one third of patients referred to the Horton came from Northamptonshire and Warwickshire.

“The message has very clearly been given that the CCG and the Oxford University NHS Hospitals Trust are no longer interested in the HGH treating patients from Warks or Northants and so are effectively saying to them, if you don’t like what the trust is proposing and if you don’t want to go to the JR, go to Warwick or Northampton.

“The public meeting in Brackley... may well be the last time the trust or OCCG feel they have to be accountable or consult with communities outside Oxfordshire – and it makes it much more difficult for the HGH to be sustainable if administrators take away a third of its catchment area.”

Diane Hedges of OCCG said: “The transformation of some services has been under discussion with GPs in Banbury since last June. The proposals have been reviewed and discussed at monthly clinical meetings at which all GP practices are represented plus additional meetings with clinicians from OUHT.

“We have liaised with CCGS in South Northants and Warks which been invited to give feedback. Households across the border to the north of the county will shortly be receiving information through the post to highlight the consultation and ask for their views.”

Keep the Horton General Campaign chairman Keith Strangwood said: “OCCG and the trust are turning their backs on Northants and Warwickshire villages and towns that have naturally looked to Banbury for generations.”

“The Horton has been their safety net and kept them alive and well, dealt with their illnesses and accidents, seen their babies born and cared for the dying. 

“To take away this net and expect thousands to find a new way to survive and drive miles in the other direction needlessly is another example of their inhumane behaviour and the establishment of the rediculously negative practical economics of cutting county services off from each other.”

Sir Tony said in due course there may well be a need for joint submissions by Cherwell, South Northants and Stratford District Councils to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel.

Ms Hedges said: “OCCG has been a very active member of the Community Partnership Network which also includes members from South Northamptonshire District Council and Stratford District Council, as well as a variety of Oxfordshire organisations with an interest in the health of our communities. The next meeting of the CPN takes place tomorrow (Friday) and we hope to see our colleagues there.

“The issues we all face are about being about being able to give people safe, high quality healthcare, around the clock and every day, no matter where they live.”