A full-scale campaign has been launched to save the Horton General Hospital’s maternity unit which could be removed by the end of September.
The Keep the Horton General campaign group, town, district and county councillors, Banbury MP Victoria Prentis and Horton staff have joined the battle to prevent the consultant-led maternity and special care baby units being taken to Oxford.
And at a rally on Tuesday, campaigners were boosted by the appearance of former MP Sir Tony Baldry who, with George Parish, led the previous, successful campaign.
The hospital bosses say they need to take almost all births to the John Radcliffe because of the recent resignations of three doctors from the Horton unit.
Campaigners have accused the Oxford University Hospitals Trust (OUHT) of failing to advertise the jobs properly, knowing some would resign after they launched downgrading proposals disabling acute women’s and children’s services at the Horton.
The Horton’s maternity unit has been depending on clinical fellows – research doctors who specialise in maternity but are still gaining qualifications – after training recognition was removed from the unit because it does not deliver as many babies as the training bodies would like doctors to experience.
Campaigners have called on OUHT to honour the spirit of the Secretary of State for Health’s order in 2008 to keep acute services in Banbury because it is too far and too dangerous to take women in labour to Oxford.
Keep the Horton General was due to hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday July 27, to agree further action.