Horton General Hospital survey shows fighting spirit in Banburyshire families

The Horton General Hospital, Maternity Unit, in Banbury. NNL-160706-143625009
The Horton General Hospital, Maternity Unit, in Banbury. NNL-160706-143625009

Banburyshire residents are prepared to fight fiercely for the Horton General Hospital, according to results of a campaign survey.

The questionnaire has been mounted by Keep the Horton General campaign group in defence of the Horton’s main services.

Statistics and comments given by more than 500 people within three days show the public will not relinquish acute hospital care easily.

Services at risk within the coming months include maternity, the 24-hour children’s ward and Accident and Emergency according to early options sketched out by the Oxford University Hospitals Trust (OUH).

“The KTHG questionnaire seeks to set out the realities of their options,” said retired GP surgery practice manager, Andrew McHugh, who created the survey with KTHG.

The OUH last month sent out its own survey to 900 members of the foundation trust in an area from Woodstock and Kidlington to Chipping Norton and south Northamptonshire.

KTHG believes the document is deliberately worded to obtain answers that justify downgrading as the solution to its financial and staffing pressures.

KTHG’s survey asks for family profile information and allows patients and families to tick what services they have used and what importance rating they would give each one.

It also explains the consequence of removal of each service and provides areas for comment on services.

Mr McHugh said he had already received criticism from one professional who accused the group of producing a biased survey.

“To those who suggest the questionnaire is biased I would say ‘Yes it is. I’m not conducting research. I campaigning to retain essential services at the Horton General Hospital. When you are campaigning people expect you to be biased’,” said Mr McHugh.

“The questionnaire from OUHFT is equally biased. In their question about ranking the importance of services in HGH, there is no specific mention of A&E except for the importance of four-hour targets.

“Minor Injury Units and GP Out of Hours services are included within the Trust’s early options document.

“People selecting these as priorities without the option to select A&E could be used by the trust to as proof of support within the community for these options.

“I have often said that HGH cannot remain as a medical ‘theme park’ but these are core services that need to be protected.

“When my wife and I were working in overseas health development in one of the poorest countries in the world, my project pushed to improve sanitation, clean water and maternal and child health as these services gave the biggest reduction in mortality for the lowest cost.

“I am distressed to find that now, in one of the richest countries in the world, we are considering scaling back on our commitment to maternal and child health. This will cost lives,” he said.

Members of the public can complete the survey themselves by going to www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/K3VFYT2

OUH spokesman Kaelum Neville said: “The aim of (the OUH) survey is to gather views on (members’) priorities for service development at the Horton as part of the wider transformation review of healthcare services across Oxfordshire.”