Have your say on permanently downgrading Horton maternity ward

The Horton General Hospital maternity ward
The Horton General Hospital maternity ward

People are invited to have their say on plans to permanently downgrade maternity services at the Horton General Hospital at an upcoming public meeting.

A meeting on Wednesday, December 19, will invite views on the impact of a closure of the obstetrics unit since it was temporarily downgraded in 2016.

It is being hosted by the Horton Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee – a new watchdog committee made up of county councillors, district councillors and members of the public from Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and Northamptonshire.

Cllr Arash Fatemian, chairman of the Oxfordshire Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (JHOSC), said all those with an interest would have an opportunity to share their views.

“We want to ensure health scrutiny of consultant-led obstetric services at the Horton General Hospital is as effective as possible,” he said.

“We want to know what the impact has been of the closure of the obstetric unit and what people think would be the impact of a permanent closure.

“This was a really successful exercise last time around, hearing experiences of mothers first-hand and also a real cross-section of the community, from local politicians right through to local clergy.”

Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) ended the consultant-led maternity service at the Horton in October 2016 saying they could not recruit enough doctors to keep it safe.

OCCG moved to permanently close obstetrics in August 2017, when the JHOSC referred the decision to the Secretary of State.

The public meeting starts at 10am at Banbury Town Hall.

Anybody who wishes to speak and address the committee should contact Julie Dean via email at julie.dean@oxfordshire.gov.uk

People are invited to specify what time they would like to speak and a timetable will be drawn up endeavouring to satisfy requests where possible.

Alternatively submit a written statement or send a video presentation of no more than five minutes via email to Ms Dean at the address above.