Horton General Hospital’s endoscopy unit was officially reopened on Friday, November 25, following a £2.7million refit.
Dame Fiona Caldicott, chair of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, cut the ribbon and was taken on a tour of the unit by Dr Bruno Holthof and staff.
Dame Fiona said: “I am delighted to be officially re-opening the endoscopy unit at the Horton. The trust board wanted to make sure we improved the services we offered to patients in Banbury. The new unit will greatly improve the experience for patients with much better privacy and more modern facilities.”
While the unit was undergoing a refit, patients travelled to Oxford to use the services there.
Around 5,000 patients a year from Banbury and surrounding areas use endoscopy services at the Horton.
The refit included separate areas for male and female patients and state-of-the-art decontamination technology to bring the unit up to and beyond current standards
Procedures carried out in the unit include gastroscopy, sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, cystoscopy and bronchoscopy.
Around 20 staff are based in the unit – a mixture of nursing and clerical staff. A team of 15 endoscopists (nurses and doctors) work across the John Radcliffe and Horton General Hospital sites.
Julia Wood, matron for endoscopy said: “Staff working in the unit are really pleased with the new space. This investment shows the trust are really committed to maintaining high quality endoscopy services at the Horton.”
Sue Kershaw, sister in charge of endoscopy at the Horton said: “I think this is a really good facility for the Horton and for local people.
“We now have an up to date department – it is an immense improvement. Staff are happier, patients are happier – it’s a very nice place to come and work.”
But Keith Strangwood, chairman of Keep the Horton General Campaign said it had taken longer than planned.
He said: “It was supposed to have been done last year.
“It is very welcome. It saves travelling to Oxford, but it was supposed to have taken six to eight months, but it was took over a year.
“The trust is spending money, but at the same time it is removing other services.
“It is a little bit of good news during a time when a dark cloud is hanging over the Horton.”