Disappointed midwives who are being moved from their long-standing jobs at the Horton Maternity Hospital have been told they may not use funds earmarked for them for a leaving do before the consultant-led unit closes on Saturday.
The midwives’ team is traditionally given money from charitable funds for a Christmas get together.
Because of the downgrading of the unit – caused by Oxford University Hospitals Trust’s inability to recruit middle grade doctors to keep the service safe – the disbanding team asked if they could have their allowance in advance for a farewell party.
Midwives have told the Banbury Guardian their request was turned down and that hospital managers at Oxford preferred to provide a party for staff across all maternity services next year.
“Every year we get a certain amount of money from charitable funds for our Christmas party. Because of the changes and move of consultant-led maternity, money was applied for, for a ‘celebration of midwifery’ for the dedicated midwives whose working lives at the Horton are changing,” said one correspondent.
“Under the current circumstance it was felt this was more appropriate and it would lift spirits as we will be working at different units.”
The Banbury Guardian was told the first application was turned down on the basis that the staff were still working for a single trust and that the move of Horton acute maternity was a temporary measure.
The midwives were directed to request money from maternity’s own charitable funds but this too, was turned down.
Staff were told the divisional team had decided against giving any money for the get together.
One maternity unit supporter – who felt unable to give their name – said: “How dare they treat this close team of midwives like this?
“You would have thought in light of current situation and low morale they would be more sympathetic and ‘here is some money, go and have a fab time, you’ve worked so hard’.
“The midwives feel as though they’ve had a punch in the guts.”
The Banbury Guardian asked the Oxford University Hospitals Trust for a comment on the matter but at the time of going to press had not received a response.