South Northants MP Andrea Leadsom has joined her Oxfordshire counterparts in calling for a single public consultation to be held into downgrading of the Horton.
Mrs Leadsom, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has joined Victoria Prentis, MP for Banbury, and Robert Courts, MP for Witney, in rejecting the plan for a split consultation.
Holding the exercise in two parts has been mooted by Oxfordshire health bosses in order to get the public’s views on the removal of consultant-led maternity, acute medicine/stroke care and ten trauma beds from the Horton to Oxford, which should have been consulted on before the changes were made.
Consultation on further downgrading of services – including the 24-hour children’s ward, the remaining trauma beds and A&E – is scheduled for May, after the local elections.
“It’s extremely disappointing that Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group are trying to split the consultation over two periods either side of ‘purdah’,” said Mrs Leadsom.
“Not only does this have consequences for the still-downgraded maternity unit at the Horton but it means my constituents won’t have a chance to comment upon the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) as a whole.
“I hope that the CCG will reconsider this and allow residents who use the vital services at the Horton the opportunity to have their say in an open and frank manner, rather than forcing them to spread their focus.”
The STP for Oxfordshire, Bucks and West Berks aims to save £500m and could end all acute inpatient departments at the Horton.