An open letter to the residents of Banbury and North Oxfordshire from Dr Bruno Holthof, Chief Executive, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The Horton General Hospital has served you proudly since 1872 and I want the Horton to maintain its place in the heart of your community for generations to come. As the Banbury and North Oxfordshire populations continue to grow I know that the Horton hospital must also develop and grow in order to deliver quality healthcare services fit for the 21st century.
At the Trust we have both the will, and the commitment of significant financial investment, to make this development possible and we have been focused for some years on developing plans for the Horton’s sustainability. Our vision includes:
• The ongoing modernisation of the older parts of the Horton.
• Expanding outpatient facilities to increase the number of outpatient appointments available at the Horton.
• Increasing day case surgery and improving outpatient diagnostic services like radiology.
• In total the number of patients being treated at the Horton each year could increase by up to 90,000.
The investment has already begun with several projects up and running or recently completed. The newly refurbished £2.6 million endoscopy unit that opened only this month brings in to reality the 21st century service that we are determined to create. The whole endoscopy unit has been redeveloped into a modern, bespoke facility of the highest national standard giving our patients greater privacy and dignity, and a significantly improved experience. Other recent investments include a refurbished radiology department and work is now starting on a £3.6 million investment to replace the CT scanner at the Horton.
When it comes to birth choices, the Trust is proud to offer one of the best maternity services in the country for mothers and we are committed to maintaining this. However, as many of you know, we had to make the difficult decision in August this year to temporarily suspend our obstetric-led maternity services at the Horton and instead become a midwifery led unit.
This decision was taken on the grounds of patient safety due to the difficulty, shared by hospitals across the UK, of finding and recruiting suitably qualified obstetric doctors to deliver the babies of women at higher risk, safely at the Horton. Unfortunately, this gave us no other choice but to temporarily suspend the service and move it to the John Radcliffe.
While I appreciate that this has been a very disruptive time for staff and patients I’m pleased to say that our midwife-led maternity unit at the Horton – like those already at Chipping Norton, Wallingford and Wantage – is thriving and our fantastic team of expert midwives have safely delivered around three Horton babies on average each week.
I hope that my commitment to the Horton, Banbury, and your local health services is clear. We will keep investing in the future of the Horton, and the health of your community.
Dr Bruno Holthof, Chief Executive