Banbury MP 'dismayed' to discover Horton re-build bid had failed - two months after hospital trust was told

Banbury MP Victoria Prentis says she is 'dismayed and bitterly disappointed’ that hospital bosses did not tell her for two months that a bid for £370m to re-build the Horton General Hospital had been refused.
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In a statement Mrs Prentis said she had, like almost everyone else, been left in limbo waiting to hear whether Banbury’s bid for the money was to be included in Boris Johnson’s ‘40 New Hospitals’ programme.

Last week, it was announced the remaining refurbishment and rebuilding projects were ‘unaffordable’ as predicted in November 2021.

The Oxford University Hospitals Trust (OUH) declined to say why Mrs Prentis and the Banbury Guardian were not informed about the bid being turned down.

Victoria Prentis, Banbury MP, was dismayed to find out the Horton cash bid had failed - two months after hospital bosses knewVictoria Prentis, Banbury MP, was dismayed to find out the Horton cash bid had failed - two months after hospital bosses knew
Victoria Prentis, Banbury MP, was dismayed to find out the Horton cash bid had failed - two months after hospital bosses knew

The competitive bid was submitted by the Trust to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) through a formal process and all communications have been between the two parties. However there was an expectation - expressed clearly to the Trust during the numerous meetings since the submission - that any update on the Expression of Interest, particularly a decision, would be shared with Mrs Prentis.

"The only assumption we can make is that it was an oversight on the Trust's part,” said the MP’s spokesperson.

Mrs Prentis said: “On May 25 the DHSC released an update on the new hospital programme in which they prioritised five hospitals. It wasn’t clear to me then that the remaining bids – including the Horton’s – were unsuccessful as a result.

“It has since come to my attention that the OUH received a letter that same day explaining that the Horton had not been selected.

"Not knowing this and given the limbo I thought we remained in, I wrote to the Health Secretary last week asking for clarity on the bid, believing it to remain active.

“I have visited the Horton since May and met representatives from the Trust. At no point did they mention the letter and the outcome of the bid. I am bitterly disappointed at this lack of communication.

"While we have come a long way since that dreadful day seven years ago when we heard about the maternity downgrade, it is very difficult for me to work with the Trust when information is not shared openly with me. It is even more frustrating given the support I gave the Trust in producing their future vision for the Horton.

“What is clear is we all agree that the Horton is in desperate need of investment. I have always been open with the Trust that if their bid was not successful, we must have a Plan B.

"It is now time for them to explore all available funding options, whether through schemes operated by the DHSC, or capital investment overseen by the Integrated Care Board or NHS England. I had already arranged meetings with the new CEO of the BOB ICS, Dr Nick Broughton, and CEO of OUH, Meghana Pandit, in the weeks ahead. The Horton will now be front and centre in those discussions.

“The Horton has a long history serving residents in Banbury and beyond. We are all immensely protective of our local general hospital and have welcomed the investment in recent years, including the new CT scanner facility. I remain absolutely determined to ensure that the future vision for the Horton becomes a reality.”