It is disappointing news that the decision to remove consultant-led maternity services at the Horton General Hospital will not be referred to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel. Over the past few years the campaign to keep a fully-functioning maternity unit has been hard fought by the whole community. Now is not the time to give up.
Over the past few months, the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been working on its masterplan for the Horton. The “Fit for the Future” vision builds on positive changes made during the pandemic response. For example it reflects the shift to digital delivery of outpatient care and provides more flexible clinical space. It is a realistic and deliverable project that demonstrates a genuine commitment to the future of our local and much-loved General Hospital.
We know that the Department for Health and Social Care is looking to allocate funding to the final “new” hospitals as part of its Health Infrastructure Plan. My hope is that we can continue to work together as a community, alongside our local health authorities, to unite behind our vision and demonstrate that we genuinely deserve this funding.
The Horton has been serving people in our area for almost 150 years. The past fifteen years have not been easy for the hospital as its services have faced possible downgrade and closure. We now have the opportunity to start a new, more positive chapter. I hope the people of Banbury will join me in supporting our vision to realise the potential of the Horton General Hospital so that it can become truly ‘fit for the future’ in the decades to come.