LETTERS: Horton General - Meeting Debacle

The Horton General Hospital
The Horton General Hospital

By the time this letter is printed it will be the day after the debacle of a meeting that hospital managers arranged in order to appear to be following legally required rules – ie that consultation must take place if a long-standing service is to be removed from a hospital.

In this case it was emergency general surgery from the Horton last January.

A meeting venue was decided upon to hold up to 200 ahead of venues capable of holding 500-plus in the heart of Banbury.

That the Oxfordshire County Council-owned (OCC) Hub Centre on Woodgreen Avenue was among those ignored is strange, since the hospital trust is a partner with the OCC Health and Well Being Board.

Instead they favoured holding the meeting in the sticks.

I wish to remind the OUHT/OCCG of its legally required procedure to consult properly and that the Oxfordshire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) has the authority to refer failure to do so to the Secretary of State For Health.

If the meeting yesterday has turned out to be a rubber stamp exercise and failed to satisfy the Horton users, we will be calling upon HOSC to report the issue to the Secretary of State.

I remind the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group that north Oxfordshire is still Oxfordshire.

Keith Strangwood

Chairman, Keep the Horton General Group

Over the past 20-odd years the people of Banbury have found it necessary to defend our local hospital from attacks by the ‘Empire-builders’ of Oxford (now in the form of OUHT) and, under the stewardship of George Parish have, so far, repelled all boarders.

During this period the Banbury Guardian has given us magnificent support and we are now, once again, grateful for last week’s piece to bring to the attention of our people the somewhat crude attempt to downgrade our services without even, this time, giving us the courtesy of a full consultation to find out what we want.

The Keep The Horton General Group is still alive and kicking with Keith Strangwood at the helm and we will continue to oppose the obstacles which are put in our way to stop the Horton from becoming a glorified clinic. We know that we must face some changes but how can we believe anything that these people say when our own ‘hospital’ cannot even treat an abscess on someone’s bottom!

Not only that but the same people organise a public meeting asking people to register if they wish to attend and choose a venue six miles out of town.

Sir Jonathon Michael, sir, you are taking the Mickey.

I only hope that at last night’s meeting we will have received support from our own GPs and we can have some confidence in the 
future of our general hospital.

Don Wilkes


Thank you for highlighting the strange decision by OUHT to hold the February 5 meeting concerning the Horton General Hospital at Rye Hill Golf Club.

I have just received notification to be at the John Radcliffe for a MRI scan at 8am, with the warning ‘not to be late’.

Perhaps somebody at the JR should buy a map that covers more than just the Oxford hospital sites!

I wonder how far from Banbury a venue would have to be before it would be considered unsuitable, causing the meeting to be rearranged? The Kassam perhaps?

Robert Jones


More letters in this week’s Banbury Guardian.