Health campaigners lobby councillors ahead of meeting

Protestors lobbying outside county council officers against plans to cut NHS services in Oxfordshire. NNL-161213-101859001
Protestors lobbying outside county council officers against plans to cut NHS services in Oxfordshire. NNL-161213-101859001
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Campaigners fighting against cuts to the NHS in Oxfordshire are lobbying a meeting of Oxfordshire County Council this morning, Tuesday.

At today’s full council meeting, councillor Glynis Phillips has put forward a motion for discussion, outlining OCC’s concerns about the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP).

The STP seeks to cut £200 million from Oxfordshire’s NHS budget by 2020-2021. It would also see the downgrading of the Horton and the replacement of nine community hospitals with four unspecified ‘hubs’.

Councillor Phillips’ motion states the council is concerned about the implications the STP will have on adult social care and for the county’s infrastructure as hospitals close and services are centralised.

It calls on OCC’s leader to write to the secretary of state for health asking for evidence the STP will work and why the NHS workforce, the public and politicians have not been involved in shaping the plan.

On Monday last week Oxford City Council overwhelmingly adopted a motion put forward by Green councillor Craig Simmons calling for moves to rein in the STP project.

Oxfordshire Keep Our NHS Public chair Dr Ken Williamson said: “We welcome the resolution on the STP carried by Oxford City Councillors on Monday. We now urge Oxfordshire’s county councillors to insist on the plans being made available in full for public consultation.

“We urge them to demand that NHS England listens and acts on what the public have to say before changes are brought in. We urge our councillors to call a halt to the process by challenging NHS England and the Secretary of State for Health.

“By 2020 almost half a billion pounds shortfall in funding of the National Health Service is expected across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and West Berkshire.

“It is very worrying that no extra funding was agreed for the NHS and social care in the Chancellor’s autumn financial statement. We need to fund our health and social care at least as well as our European neighbours.”

The STP proposals are to be signed off by December 23, before consultation with the public.