Brackley is being ‘sidelined’ in Horton consultation

Northampton General Hospital where some Brackley area patients may have to access care
Northampton General Hospital where some Brackley area patients may have to access care

A Brackley man has called on Oxfordshire’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee to ensure a single consultation is ordered for Horton downgrading plans.

Conrad Woolley has told the committee Brackley is being ‘sidelined’ being so close to the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire borders but not within the new NHS region, or ‘footprint’ that contains the Horton.

Mr Woolley called on the committee to ask Northants and Warks to contribute to funding Horton services to ensure they continue.

“Decisions about the future of the Horton have been piecemeal without any overall consultation, just asking for opinions about individual, specific functions,” he said. “Downgrading of the Horton should be referred (as a single matter) to the Secretary of State who stated in 2008 that centralisation of acute services was wrong because of distances travelled by patients and their visitors.

“From your geographical position you cannot appreciate the difficulties of travelling from the Banbury area, particularly the Horton.

“Satellite navigation aids and Google Maps provide unrealistic routes and journey times, especially with public transport,” he wrote.

“I would ask that you try a journey to the Horton, returning to the John Radcliffe, parking at both hospitals.”

Mr Woolley said patients needing care at Northampton General Hospital would have to take one of only three buses a day - changing at Silverstone - rather than a half hourly buses that run between Brackley and Banbury.

Mr Woolley said the response form for the current Oxfordshire Transformation Plan does not allow full understanding and opportunity to give informed views.

“The most recent questionnaire has such loaded questions, the sequence of which, precludes any meaningful opinion about future services,” he said. “Some statistics are glossed over or misleading, such as the percentage of non-emergency births at the Horton.

“I have direct knowledge of a young mother who experienced a ‘normal’ birth. Medical, post-natal problems necessitated an emergency ambulance journey which made the whole birth process so traumatic and stressful for mother and child.

“The downgrading of the Horton should be put to a single, public consultation. No decisions about the removal of beds, wards or permanent services should be taken separately,” said Mr Woolley.

A public consultation meeting will be held at Crown Hotel, Brackley on Monday, February 27 from 10.30am-12.30pm. To book a place call 01865 334638 or

A series of public meetings to give advice on the public consultation have been organised by Keep the Horton General campaign group at venues in and around Banbury in the coming weeks.

As well as a town centre event on Thursday, March 2 at St Mary’s Church, there are meetings at Mollington Village Hall next Tuesday, February 21, Adderbury Institute on Wednesday, February 22, Hornton Pavilion on February 23 and Sibford Village Hall on March 14.

KTHG will be offering a Guide to Response to Oxfordshire Transformation Plan. To receive a copy, or to organise a public meeting in your village, email or contact 07740 599736.