Inspectors focus on Horton's midwife-led maternity service today (Monday)

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Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) are at the Horton General Hospital today (Monday) to examine the midwife-led maternity service.

The CQC has contacted all patients who used the service between March, 2022 - May 31, 2023 to ask for their views.

And they are asking for wider feedback on the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust’s (OUH) services. The trust was given two days’ notice of the visit which is part of a national inspection of all maternity units.

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Obstetrics, including caesarean sections and a special care baby unit, was removed from Banbury in 2016 as part of the Oxfordshire ‘transformation’ plan.

The entrance to the Horton's midwife-led maternity unitThe entrance to the Horton's midwife-led maternity unit
The entrance to the Horton's midwife-led maternity unit

Midwives, maternity doctors and consultants were transferred to Oxford which delivers 7,000+ babies per year.

The Horton was left with a midwife-only unit with a 24-hour ambulance to transfer mothers suffering complications. It delivered 134 babies last year - a drop from 201 in 2017.

Keep the Horton General campaign put up a huge fight for obstetrics but was over-ruled.

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Press officer Charlotte Bird said: “Since 2016 we continued liaising with NHS leaders in Oxfordshire, who have now been merged with Buckinghamshire and Berkshire West into an Integrated Care Board (ICB).

"We were assured by the CEO of the OCCG that the loss of obstetrics would be reviewed if the population in north Oxfordshire grew sufficiently.

"That time is fast approaching and we will write to the CQC to provide the context in which today’s visit takes place.

"This is timely as the OUH considers a ‘Plan B’ for the Horton’s redevelopment following the Government’s abandonment of its New Hospitals Programme – to which the Horton had placed a bid for £370m for replacement of these old buildings.

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"The maternity building has serious structural problems, highlighted in a report in 2017.

"It is time the Horton was given back the local services the population needs.”

Paula Gardner, Interim Chief Nursing Officer, said: "We hope every patient has a good experience of using our services, including the Horton's maternity services. We recognise not every outcome is happy and not every patient has the experience that they would like. If you feel able to, the CQC would like to hear from you about your experiences to learn from them whether they were positive or not.”

Use this link to give feedback to the CQC.