Statement on Clinical Commissioning Group maternity recommendation from Victoria Prentis, Member of Parliament for North Oxfordshire:
Over the past four years, we have fought hard to return obstetric services to the Horton General Hospital. The process has involved hard work from both the Joint Oxfordshire and Horton Health Overview and Scrutiny Committees (HOSC), Keep the Horton General campaign group and elected members from all parties. Since HOSC referred the matter to the Secretary of State, the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have been required to undertake additional work, engaging the local population in and around Banbury, and consulting on all options for maternity services. The referral to the Secretary of State was a lifeline for our campaign.
Today, the CCG published its recommendations following its review into the provision of obstetrics at the Horton General Hospital - the Midwife-Led Unit (MLU) at the Horton to be made permanent, with obstetrics remaining solely at the John Radcliffe (JR) in Oxford. The CCG will vote whether or not to accept the recommendation on 26 September.
The recommendation is extremely disappointing. I believe we can do more to recruit obstetricians and reopen a safe service.
As I have said many times before, the JR is simply too far to travel when in labour or an emergency situation.
I will work closely with other MPs, councillors and campaign groups to ensure that we take every step we can.
There are three glimmers of hope. Firstly, it is likely I will be able to chair an annual review, with community involvement, to explore our current health and wellbeing needs to the CCG. As Banbury grows, so too will our maternity needs.
Secondly, last week I met the CCG to discuss the current situation for new parents in Banbury and surrounding areas. I have asked that the mitigation we were promised four years ago - parking and joined up notes and so on - must be put in place immediately.
Finally, there is a realisation in the CCG that the Horton General Hospital needs significant investment to be fit for the future. We need to join together locally, working with the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUHFT) and make the case for significant investment with the Department of Health and Social Care.
I was born at the Horton and I hope future generations of Banbury babies will be too. I will never give up on the fight to bring back a full maternity service to Banbury.