Banbury MP slams health chiefs over Horton

Banbury MP Victoria Prentis has slammed Oxfordshire health chiefs over the Horton downgrade.

Tuesday, 17th October 2017, 11:25 am
Updated Tuesday, 17th October 2017, 11:43 am
Banburyshire MPs Victoria Prentis and Robert Courts who spoke in the debate on Oxfordshire health services
Banburyshire MPs Victoria Prentis and Robert Courts who spoke in the debate on Oxfordshire health services

In a debate on Oxfordshire health matters at Westminster Hall today (Tuesday), Mrs Prentis said the current devolution of health services was not working and she was glad the two top members of the county’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCH) were leaving.

“If this is devolution, it is not working,” she said.

“The chief executive and clinical lead at CCG leaving by the end of the year. I’m delighted as quite frankly they are not up to it.”

North Oxfordshire MP Victoria Prentis speaking at an OCCG board meeting.

Mrs Prentis said they were ‘hell bent’ on continuing their split consultation changes that result in Horton downgrading despite the current judicial review of the lawfulness of Phase One consultation.

“It is a poisoned chalice for whoever inherits the CCG job,” she said.

“Our district council tops the leaderboard for housebuilding. In under ten years (after the last battle for the Horton), we find ourselves with no obstetrics or special care baby unit; gone in the blink of the eye without any real attempt to address recruitment issues.”

In the debate, called by Witney MP Robert Courts, Mrs Prentis lamented the decision to remove the Horton’s training accreditation for middle grade maternity doctors which had been the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ for recruitment resulting in removal of the obstetric unit

North Oxfordshire MP Victoria Prentis speaking at an OCCG board meeting.

“We remain deeply unhappy and frightened, with patients travelling up to two hours in the final stages of labour and emergency gynae operations taking place in a portacabin in the JR car park,” she said.

“A recent decision to remove accreditation from certain grades of anaesthetists puts all the acute services at the Horton General Hospital at risk. I had to tell them this had happened. The Dean had not communicated this to the Trust or CCG.

“The Oxford University Hospitals Trust tells the CCG what to do. When they do not agree, stalemate. For example the Trust, clinicians and everyone locally know they can’t possibly shut A & E but the CCG are determined to press ahead with a (Phase Two) consultation which suggests just that.”

“In 2008, local GPs were pivotal in the fight to save the Horton. Poor leadership and an ever-increasing workload has prevented them being the vocal force they once were. I have found allies in NHS Improvement, who have been investigating the Trust, and the Care Quality Commission - who can prosecute.”

Mrs Prentis, who was reported this week saying the CCG should be closed down, said: “Our latest consultation report described ‘universal concerns’ of over 10,000 people who responded.

“Everyone locally feels as I do, but at our last meeting the Trust chief executive branded my fears as ‘irrational’. Rather than try and go some way to allaying fears, I am simply ignored.

“They do not communicate with elected representatives or the public. It is up to us to organise public meetings. NHS Improvement was appalled when I showed them the pile of unanswered letters. Colleagues beyond the county boundary whose constituents use the Horton are also completely overlooked.”

Mr Courts said: “Healthcare is the number one issue of concern locally and that is why it has been my priority since being elected.

“Nothing is more important than the health of you and your loved ones. Services must be up to scratch to cater for everyone in West Oxfordshire – now and in future as this area develops.”