Horton to pay for private help

MHBG-24-11-11-NHS treatment centre
MHBG-24-11-11-NHS treatment centre

SOME patients needing daycase surgery will have their operations at the privately run Banbury treatment centre this winter.

Horton General Hospital bosses in Oxford are finalising plans to decant orthopaedic day and short-stay cases to the Horton Treatment Centre (TC) which is based on the main site in Hightown Road.

They say buying care at the TC will help them keep a supply of beds available for the customary rush of admissions that occur during the winter months.

However, Keep the Horton General (KHG) campaigners, who monitor changes at the Horton in a bid to protect services, say managers should have forseen capacity difficulties when they closed 17 beds in two wards last autumn.

The Oxford University Hospitals Trust (OUH) could not say what the cost would be, whether Horton or TC nursing staff would be used to care for the patients, or when and for how long the arrangement would continue.

In a statement it said: “The Trust continually plans for an inevitable increase in pressure during winter to maintain patient services and reduce stress on staff.

“As part of on-going winter contingency planning at Horton General Hospital, some day-case and short stay surgery will be undertaken in the TC during the winter months. This will release beds on the main site... for emergency services whilst protecting elective activity.”

KHG member Dr Peter Fisher said: “It is difficult to comment until we know the details, which probably ought to have been reported earlier to the Community Partnership Network, set up as a forum where groups concerned with health services in the area could be kept informed of any changes to prevent rumour and suspicion which flourish when facts are not presented clearly and in a timely manner.

“It does appear closing beds in anticipation of solving the problem of delayed discharges was over-optimistic. The majority of admissions in winter are medical emergencies and making space for these on a surgical ward is less than ideal.”