Horton and JR A&E units miss out on help funds

South Central Ambulance Service. The Horton General Hospital, Banbury. Emercency Ambulance. NNL-160816-115845009
South Central Ambulance Service. The Horton General Hospital, Banbury. Emercency Ambulance. NNL-160816-115845009

The Horton and JR hospitals have missed out on a share of a £55.98m funding pot to help A&E departments meet four-hour targets.

Oxfordshire University Hospitals Trust (OUHT) said this week they had decided not to submit a bid for money even though both hospitals’ A&E departments have breached the target all year.

An OUHT spokesman said: “We expressed an initial interest in the funding but, having studied the criteria, we decided in the end not submit a bid.”

The OUHT is hoping to end consultant-led maternity permanently, and removed 45 medical beds from the Horton last October. Results of a public consultation on these are expected at the end of May.

Campaigners expect the second raft of plans for the Horton to see a downgrade of A&E.

Campaign group Keep the Horton General says breaches are proof that closing beds was wrong and that downgrading of the Horton must cease. Chairman Keith Strangwood said: “We know of at least one patient who waited 13 hours in A&E and one at the JR of 15 hours. The breaches show it would be madness for the Oxford University Hospitals Trust to pursue any downgrade of full Horton A&E.”

Target breaches were: Horton – January 544 (of 3,213), February 419 (2,893), March 201 (3,309). JR – January 1,314 (8,901), February 1,581 (8,410), March (1,485) 9,686.

The Department of Health said the money would be used to help move patients out of A&E to the most appropriate setting, enabling the departments to meet the required times in 95 per cent of cases.