Campaigners fighting to retain acute and emergency services at Banbury’s Horton General Hospital have met with care regulators to report their concerns over the removal of emergency surgery.
The Keep the Horton General Campaign (KTHG) joined other members of the public at a ‘listening event’ held by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) on Monday.
They took with them a dossier detailing the stories of numerous patients who recounted distressing, lengthy and painful experiences being transferred to the John Radcliffe, Oxford for assessment after emergency abdominal episodes.
The event was part of a two-day CQC inspection involving a 50-strong team examining many aspects of care, management and planning. Its findings will be critical in a decision on whether the OUHT will be given Foundation Trust status, allowing it to make its own decisions rather than central government .
The KTHG is also taking the issue of emergency general surgery removal to Oxfordshire County Council’s health watchdog, the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) today (Thursday).
Chairman Keith Strangwood said: “When the service was taken away it was described as a suspension, but the Oxford University Hospitals Trust has announced it wishes the change to be permanent.
“KTHG asks that HOSC carries out its role to consider whether there has been adequate, legally required consultation according to section 11 of the Health and Social Care Act.” Mr Strangwood said if the OUHT or the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group remained unwilling to carry out consultation he hoped HOSC would refer the matter to the Secretary of State for a decision.
“We firmlybelieve that there must be a formal consultation,” he said. He referred to the 2006 plan to downgrade maternity and paediatric services, which were saved when the full consequences of their removal from Banbury were examined and found to be unsafe and inhumane.
OUHT ended emergency surgery in January 2013 after removing two of five surgeons on the Horton’s emergency rota.
The surgeons refuted the reasons given for their removal. It is believed one is claiming unfair dismissal.