More questions than answers' after Banbury MP visit to the Horton
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The announcement means the Horton will no longer have any chance of getting the £370 million it requested to rebuild the ageing hospital.
Mrs Prentis met Chief Executives of Oxford University Hospitals Trust and the Bucks, Oxon and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board, Dr Meghana Pandit and Dr Nick Broughton.
Investment at the hospital was discussed but neither Mrs Prentis nor the hospital trust gave any indication of what a Plan B for the Horton might look like.
The MP used the visit to take a walk around to see one of its more recent additions – a new CT scanner – in action.
Mrs Prentis said: “It was really useful to sit down with Dr Meghana Pandit and Dr Nick Broughton last month. I used our meeting as an opportunity to reiterate the need for us all to work more closely together so that we can make sure the Horton continues to provide excellent care for our families now and for many generations to come. Open communication is essential and residents must be taken on the journey with the trust.
“I received Meghana’s assurances that the Horton has a firm place in the trust’s future vision, which has been reinforced by the trust’s new Clinical Strategy for the next five years. We know what the Horton’s strengths are and, as I have said before, it can do a lot more than people realise. As a ‘hot site’, the urgent care services the Horton provides to our fast-growing population is instrumental to the smooth-running of the Trust.”
“It was great to hear more about the Horton’s success for funding elsewhere. Through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, our hospital is receiving investment to replace its heating system, which includes window replacements and solar upgrades. This funding will go a long way towards future-proofing the Horton’s infrastructure, making it much more sustainable and energy efficient.”
Keep the Horton General (KTHG) campaign group said the meeting raised more questions than answers.
"'As always we welcome any publicity for the Horton General Hospital and it’s nice to hear Victoria has publicised her visit,” said KTHG communications officer Charlotte Bird.
"However It is surprising that all the things that were promised by former Chief Executive Bruno Holtof - multi storey car park etc - were not referred to. While the scanner and new windows are obviously welcome additions they are only two things on the long 'to do' list'.
"KTHG – representing the community - has written to the hospital trust and the ICB to ensure that the group will be among the major stakeholders in the formation of a Plan B for rebuilding of the Horton and we are eager to join those discussions. Patching up the old buildings is not going to be good enough.”
* The new CT scanner, which has been helping local people receive treatment much closer to home, can perform approximately 1,000 outpatient scans per month which is increasing the Horton’s diagnostic capacity, helping to reduce waiting lists.
"This is much-welcome investment at our hospital and hope to see more of its kind in the future,” said Mrs Prentis.