A survey of the time it takes Banburyshire patients to travel to hospital appointments in Oxford showed an average journey of 80 minutes - higher than the 45 minutes claimed by health bosses.
North Oxfordshire MP Victoria Prentis carried out the survey as part her of opposition to plans to permanently downgrade the consultant-led maternity unit at Banbury’s Horton Hospital.
In total she received 377 individual completed surveys which found that on average that it takes people 1 hour and 20 minutes to travel from the Banbury area to an Oxford hospital, plus a further 20 minutes spent trying to park.
Mrs Prentis said: “It came as no surprise to discover that the average journey time from my constituency to the Oxford hospitals, including parking, is over an hour and a half.
“The Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) maintains that the average journey time from Banbury to Oxford is 45 minutes. The data I have collected show this to not be the case.
“The majority of my constituents live within 10 miles of the Horton General Hospital – a much-loved, well-regarded and easy-to-access hospital. The Oxford hospitals are not easily accessible for the people of North Oxfordshire. It is vital that the OCCG take this into account when making any decisions about the future of NHS services in the county.”
OCCG is currently consulting on the first phase of a proposed transformation to Oxfordshire’s healthcare provision and said it would consider Mrs Prentis’ findings as part of that process. The proposals include making the current temporary midwife-led maternity unit at the Horton permanent and moving other services to hospitals in Oxford. The consultant-led midwife service was withdrawn last year for safety reasons because of a shortage of obstetric doctors.
Campaigners, including Mrs Prentis, claim that making some pregnant women travel to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford will be dangerous, especially in an emergency.
A spokesman for OCCG said: “The CCG acknowledges the initiative taken by Victoria Prentis MP for Banbury around health journey times, which will be considered alongside other feedback and comment as part of the Oxfordshire Transformation consultation.”