Banbury MP Sir Tony Baldry has written to the head of NHS England to find out if people should be consulted over the loss of emergency surgery at the Horton General Hospital.
His move comes after months of pressure from Keep the Horton General Group (KTHG) since the service was removed in January after two emergency rota surgeons were removed from their positions.
Consultation was bound up in the formation of the newly-formed Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s (OCCG) strategy for buying health services and will not be undertaken until next year.
In the meantime the Oxford University Hospitals Trust (OUHT) has made transfer of patients needing assessment or surgery permanent.
Sir Tony has appealed to Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England for guidance. “I fully understand the positions of OUHT and OCCG but also the concerns of some local people that there hasn’t been an open and transparent consultation on removing emergency surgery from the Horton General Hospital,” he wrote.
At last week’s Oxfordshire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) meeting, Cllr Les Sibley of Bicester proposed that due to ‘the lack of legally required public consultation’ the matter be referred to the Secretary of State for Health but the matter was dropped without a vote in favour of a public meeting in Banbury.
Keith Strangwood, chair of KTHG said it was wrong that Banbury does not have representation on HOSC and, as a former member, offered to be co-opted on. He praised Sir Tony for his action but lamented the nine-month delay.
“These issues need to be resolved as soon as possible if we are to ensure our hospital remains a fully acute general hospital,” he said.