Following yesterday's reports that the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was reviewing the paediatrics service at the Horton, Victoria has said:
“I have spoken to the Trust and made it very clear that I thought yesterday was not handled well. To hear rumours of a possible downgrade of paediatrics in the morning and to then wait all day for a rebuttal is simply not good enough. We need an open dialogue and immediate reassurance.
“During my conversation with the Trust I have been reassured once again that full paediatric services will continue at the Horton. As the Trust begins to prepare for the winter months ahead, it does seem reasonable for them to consider seasonal pressures alongside any localised resurgence of coronavirus. In planning for this, they need to keep all staffing options on the table. However, any rota changes would be temporary to cope with an emergency situation. It cannot be used as a way to force fundamental changes to how a service is delivered through the back door.
“I think it is perfectly reasonable for us all to be nervous about any suggested change to rotas at the Horton given our long history. We all bear the scars of our previous battles. At a meeting last Friday with elected representatives, our local health providers and the Keep the Horton General Campaign group, we discussed our vision for the future. We are determined to ensure the Horton can remain a fully-functioning local General Hospital fit to serve our growing community. To make that happen we will need to work together and be honest and open in our conversations. A clear and open line of communication is absolutely essential going forward.”
The OUHFT's full statement on the issue is below:
We are not downgrading paediatric services at the Horton General Hospital.
As part of our continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic and our preparations for any future surges, we are working across the Trust to ensure that our services, including Paediatrics, are able to run safely, with the right staffing, social distancing, PPE, and processes in place to protect both staff and patients.
In Paediatrics, across both the Horton General Hospital and the John Radcliffe, we are working to mitigate the new challenges that the pandemic has brought to the service and our medical and nursing staffing. Patient and staff safety is always at the forefront of our discussions, alongside ensuring quality of care and service continuity for our local population.