Health chiefs to answer questions about closure of surgical ward at Banbury’s Horton General Hospital

Banbury's Horton General Hospital.
Banbury's Horton General Hospital.

The future of the Horton General Hospital’s E-Ward - the round-the-clock surgical care unit - will be discussed at a stakeholders’ meeting on Tuesday.

Since the Banbury Guardian revealed that the ward was to be closed for overnight care and reduced from 17 beds to 12 for day case use only, concern has been expressed about the future of surgery at the Horton.

The changes to E-Ward were announced at the same time as a plan to invest £2million to temporarily relieve Oxfordshire’s acute hospitals of ‘bed blockers’ - patients who are ready to be discharged from an acute hospital but cannot leave because funding for onward care is not available.

The Oxford University Hospitals Trust’s planning chief, Andrew Stevens, is expected to respond to questions raised about where surgery patients who are to poorly to go home - including breast cancer patients - will be cared for.

He is also expected to tell the Community Partnership Network meeting, attended by council representatives, Keep the Horton General campaign group, Horton doctors, GPs and the county’s health watchdog what plans the trust has for next spring when the new funding runs out.

Members of the public may attend the meeting which takes place at Cherwell District Council’s debating chamber at 10am.

Concerned residents have been voicing fears about the loss of more Horton beds on social media. One said: “We must remember that bed blocking is caused by a large amount of bed closures over the years, lack of funding and an increase in older people living in the community as opposed to care homes.”

The OUHT failed to answer detailed questions about surgical patients’ overnight care in time for the Banbury Guardian’s deadline.