Removal of emergency general surgery (EGS) from the Horton General Hospital a year ago could have been avoided, campaigners say.
Keep the Horton General Campaign (KTHG) prepared its complaints to take to a public meeting last night (Wednesday) at Rye Hill Golf Club, Milcombe, but was not expected to be allowed to speak.
Members wanted to tell the meeting removal of EGS had been discussed with commissioners (Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group OCCG) for at least six months before it was dramatically halted with only two days’ notice a year ago.
The Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Trust said it was due to sudden loss of surgeons from the rota.
Promises that changes would be discussed with stakeholders before being implemented were broken, claim KTHG.
“The loss of one surgeon for disciplinary reasons was foreseen for months. Two others were removed for non urgent reasons, entirely within the discretion of the trust,” said Dr Peter Fisher of KTHG.
“OUHT announced the change would be permanent and promised full consultation which has never taken place.”
Gallbladder surgery was moved to Oxford in 2011.
“No evidence has been produced to cast doubts on the safety of any other emergency general surgical procedure at the Horton,” said Dr Fisher. “We were told it would be three to five patients per week.
“The trust’s figures reveal 100 a month because of instructions that anyone with the possibility of needing surgery must go to Oxford for assessment. No more than a fifth actually have urgent surgery. Many experience stress, expense and pain and some are sent home because investigations are unavailable out of hours. The move has resulted in removal of training recognition for junior surgical staff at the Horton so there is now no surgical opinion outside office hours.”
Dr Fisher said it was better for surgeons to travel to Banbury than sick patients to Oxford, while KTHG called for EGS to be restored pending consultation.