Former Prime Minister David Cameron has stepped into the furore over removal of consultant-led maternity services in Banbury by insisting the Oxford University Hospitals Trust replaces essential doctors as soon as possible and reopens the Horton unit.
Mr Cameron, MP for West Oxfordshire, has spoken with Bruno Holthof, chief executive the trust, pushing for guarantees that the consultant-led maternity unit at the Horton General Hospital will be returned.
The Board of Directors of Oxford University NHS Foundation Trust made the decision yesterday to temporarily suspend obstetric service until a safe number of obstetric middle grade doctors can be recruited. The Horton maternity will be a midwife-only unit from October 1.
Mr Cameron will be working with local councils and the trust to make sure the Horton is an attractive option for potential recruits and to ensure that the Trust keeps its public pledge to reopen the consultant-led unit.
Mr Cameron said: “Local mums want to have their babies in their local hospital and, while a midwife led unit can achieve great things, it won’t be able to look after all mothers’ needs. That means we need a consultant-led service at Banbury and the Horton should be large enough to sustain one.
“The importance of this service to local people is very clear to see from the public outpouring of concern at the temporary suspension of the consultant-led unit.
“I have been reassured by Dr Holthof that the Trust are doing everything they can to recruit obstetricians – and indeed that they will continue trying to recruit the needed staff to ensure that the unit reopens.
“Myself and other local MPs will be working together to ensure that every option is considered and that every potential obstacle to these recruits is addressed.”