Horton saviour of 2008 offers support to bid to save Banbury’s hospital services

Home Secretary Alan Johnson during his speech at the Labour Party Conference, at the Brighton Centre, Brighton, Sussex. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture Date: Tuesday September 29, 2009. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire B40604041254227707A
Home Secretary Alan Johnson during his speech at the Labour Party Conference, at the Brighton Centre, Brighton, Sussex. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture Date: Tuesday September 29, 2009. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire B40604041254227707A

Former Secretary of State, Rt Hon Alan Johnson sent a special message of support to campaigners trying to save acute services at the Horton General Hospital.

Mr Johnson was health secretary during the last Horton crisis, when, in 2006, the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Trust attempted to remove all acute services.

He recommended protection and improvement of Horton services.

Last week he said he believes nothing has changed and Banbury continues to need the same services in the same place.

In a message sent via the local Labour Party he said: “As health secretary on the last occasion when an attempt was made to downgrade maternity services at Horton, I referred the issue to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) which was clinically-led and whose report in March 2008 recommended the Horton General Hospital must continue to serve the local community in north Oxfordshire and that the local trust’s proposals failed to provide an accessible or improved service for local people.

“I completely accepted the view of this expert panel – that the local community’s access to services would be seriously compromised if the trust’s proposals were implemented.

“Far from closing down or downgrading any of these services, I supported the IRP’s recommendation that the then primary care trust and the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Trust carry out further work to set out the arrangements necessary to retain and develop them.”

Mr Johnson wished the town good luck with the current campaign.