Health minister visits Banbury's Horton General Hospital

Health minister Jo Churchill talks with A&E matron Michelle Brock and Banbury MP Victoria Prentis
Health minister Jo Churchill talks with A&E matron Michelle Brock and Banbury MP Victoria Prentis

Health minister Jo Churchill was given a tour of the Horton yesterday.

Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) NHS Foundation Trust welcomed Ms Churchill who was given a tour around the Banbury hospital and spoke to staff at the Brodey Centre, a specialist cancer treatment department, A&E and was shown a birthing room at the midwifery-led maternity unit.

The Health Minister for Prevention, Public Health and Primary Care was greeted by Professor Sir Jonathan Montgomery, OUH Chair; Dr Bruno Holthof, OUH CEO; Louise Patten, Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) CEO; Cllr Andrew McHugh, Cherwell District Council Lead for Health and Wellbeing; and Victoria Prentis, Banbury MP.

The media was not invited.

An OUH spokesman said the visit gave the Trust the opportunity to demonstrate how investment has benefited the hospital and trust more broadly and put forward a case for future funding.

The Minister was particularly interested to see the Brodey Centre, which provides chemotherapy services for patients in north Oxfordshire, south Northamptonshire, and south Warwickshire. This allows patients to receive excellent cancer care without having to travel to Oxford for treatment.

Ms Churchill, said: “I was impressed by the integrated approach at Horton General Hospital, with joint working across the hospital showing what can be done.

"This sort of forward-thinking benefits patients and benefits the NHS. It was a pleasure to visit the hospital today and meet health professionals who are so passionate about the care they deliver.”

State-of-the-art X-ray equipment at the Emergency Department has been up and running since early 2019, and the surrounding room has had a complete renovation. The new machine, which has improved image quality and reduced patient radiation dosage in comparison to the previous equipment, makes life easier for patients. The equipment was funded by government money in 2018 to prepare for winter pressures.

Dr Bruno Holthof, Chief Executive Officer of the Trust, said: “I was delighted to host Jo Churchill in Banbury and discuss our vision for a 21st century Horton General Hospital. Our staff shared great stories on how investing in the Horton would make a difference to our patients and the local community.”

Victoria Prentis, Banbury MP, said: “I was pleased to be involved in a really positive meeting with OUH, the OCCG and Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Jo Churchill MP. It is important to plan for the future and funding opportunities. We have a strong case so it was good to show Jo the Horton site.”

Louise Patten, Chief Executive of Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It was good to meet with Jo Churchill along with local politicians, and to hear from staff who work at the Horton General Hospital. The hospital has a vibrant future; we all must work hard to secure investment to improve and expand services to benefit the local people.”

Cllr Andrew McHugh, Lead Member for Health and Wellbeing at Cherwell District Council, said: “This was a very positive meeting. It was good to meet my health partners in a forward looking and optimistic manner. The staff at the Horton were, as ever, amazing and delivered a consistent message. They love working at the Horton but it needs significant investment. I hope the Minister’s visit will help to secure that investment.”