Banbury's hospital campaign leader criticises Oxford chiefs for running a survey 'very few knew about'

The graphic used by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust for its survey
The graphic used by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust for its survey

Keep the Horton General's chairman has criticised Oxford hospital bosses for running a survey 'very few knew about'.

The survey is meant to give Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust (OUH) planners public opinion about their strategy for the next five years. Today (Friday) the OUH extended the deadline for a week.

Chairman of KTHG, Keith Strangwood

Chairman of KTHG, Keith Strangwood

The appeal for public opinion was released on the trust's social media pages and sent to HealthWatch and parish councils but not to local papers, radio or television.

This morning (Friday) the Banbury Guardian asked for an extension to today's deadline after Keep the Horton General (KTHG) campaign group brought it to the newsroom's attention. And OUH has agreed that it will continue to accept contributions to the survey until next Friday, October 18.

"All through this frustrating process of watching the Horton maternity being downgraded, beds closed and intensive care reduced, the trust and Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group have tried to reassure us that we will be consulted on developments and that there will be a spirit of inclusion and trust in the future," said KTHG's Keith Strangwood.

"But the fact that we got to know about this survey on the day of the deadline for responses doesn't give us confidence. It seems very few knew about this."

The OUH released a statement this afternoon saying they wanted as many people as possible to hear about the survey.

A spokesman said: "We are refreshing our strategy for the next five years (2020-2025) so that all staff working at the Horton General in Banbury, at our three hospitals in Oxford and in services in other community locations have a common purpose and direction in order to provide safe and high quality care. Over the summer, we have worked with our staff to develop a simple framework (pyramid) which will form the basis of a strategic plan which we are developing this autumn.

"We are keen to gather the views of our patients and the public in Oxfordshire and beyond which is why we launched an online survey for patients and the public in September. The input we gather through this survey will help inform the development of our strategic plan and the key priorities from the perspectives of the patients and populations we serve. This survey is only the first step in gathering input and we will be working with partner organisations to engage more widely and take the input we have gathered forwards.

"We would encourage everyone to complete the survey before it closes on Friday, October 18 and we will continue to promote it via our social media channels to ensure that as many people as possible hear about it."

Mr Strangwood said: "It's a good thing that the deadline has been extended and we thank the trust for that. We hope people will take time to submit a response and perhaps to ask the trust to look at its own strategic theme of 'close to home' and realise that for the growing area of Banburyshire, the population needs acute hospital care close to our homes," he said.

"The responses we have had to our appeal for experiences of mothers giving birth at the JR, Oxford show that the JR is too far. We need the Horton to be reinstated as a full district general hospital, not a glorified day clinic.

"We only found this survey by accident. It was only through the vigilance of one of our members that we saw it and he saw it on the OUH website news section. We weren't alerted to it. We've got thousands of social media followers so we could have spread the word about it.

"The OCCG head said in a face to face meeting with me that they would be working very closely with us in future. They are all one system now so why were we not told and why has this not been publicised more widely?"

The survey can be found here.

It says: "We are refreshing our strategy for the next five years (2020-2025) so that we have a common purpose and direction for all who work at OUH, and can communicate this clearly to our patients and our partners.

"We want to develop a strategy which supports you to receive seamless and joined-up care, helps to make OUH a great place to work for our staff and takes advantage of the opportunities that new technologies offer."

The strategic themes are * getting the basics right * close to home * compassionate and learning culture * going digital and * world class research, education and innovation.

The trust says its objectives are * making the OUH a great place to work * providing high-quality, safe, patient-centred care and * working with partners and communities to improve health and well-being.

The survey asks four questions ranging from what improvements individuals would suggest for improving care to what priorities are for improving health and well-being in their community.