First meeting of Horton-HOSC to take place at Banbury Town Hall

The Horton General Hospital, Maternity Unit, in Banbury. NNL-160706-143639009
The Horton General Hospital, Maternity Unit, in Banbury. NNL-160706-143639009

The date of the long-awaited first meeting of a new Banburyshire scrutiny committee is to be announced in the next few days.

Oxfordshire County Council has confirmed this week that the inaugural meeting of the committee - dubbed the Horton HOSC (health overview and scrutiny committee) - is imminent.

The Horton General Hospital, Maternity Unit, in Banbury. NNL-160706-143732009

The Horton General Hospital, Maternity Unit, in Banbury. NNL-160706-143732009

It will take place at Banbury Town Hall. The committee is being set up so councillors from south Northants and south Warwickshire can give their residents’ views on the future of the Horton General which is their local hospital.

It is also set with reviewing the evidence used to downgrade the consultant-led maternity hospital to a midwife-only unit.

Neither councillors nor GPs in those cross-border districts were consulted on the Oxfordshire Transformation Plan which proposed the permanent downgrade of the consultant-led maternity department, special care baby unit, closure of 45 medical beds and downgrading of intensive care.

A spokesman for the county council, which runs the Oxfordshire HOSC, said: “Following the recommendation by the Secretary of State, all three local authorities – Warwickshire, Northants and Oxfordshire approved the creation of a ‘Horton HOSC’ in May.

“Work has been going on throughout the summer to form a committee of ten that is fully representative of political breadth, geographic location as well as the patient flow of services in question at the Horton, specifically obstetrics.

“The ‘Horton HOSC’ will comprise eight members from Oxfordshire, including one co-opted member, and one member each from Warwickshire and Northants,” the spokesman said.

The committee will convene at Banbury Town Hall in late September or very early October, when a chairperson will be appointed.