Banbury Conservatives are pleased that the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Oxfordshire University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUHFT) have confirmed that a full paediatric service will be maintained at the Horton General Hospital.
Concerns that the children’s ward could be downgraded from 24-hour provision have been categorically refuted by the Trust which will be welcome news for residents within the Horton catchment.
“We are grateful to the Trust and the CCG for confirmation that paediatric provision at the Horton will not be downgraded. Paediatrics is a vital service. The children’s ward at the Horton is rightly valued locally as a result of the excellent care its staff provides to our youngest residents and their families. Its future is particularly important to us all here in Banbury.
It is right that the Trust and the CCG ensure that preparations for their ongoing response to the Covid-19 pandemic mean that healthcare services across the county, including paediatrics, are able to run safely and we applaud their excellent handling of coronavirus to date. But while Covid-19 has necessitated a more flexible approach to local healthcare, it is critical that this short-term, emergency requirement does not translate into fundamental service change or further centralisation of Horton services to Oxford longer term. Banbury needs and its residents deserve, a fully functioning General Hospital.
We are encouraged that the Trust and the CCG remain ambitious for the future of the Horton. We urge them to push on in this new direction and make our hospital fit for the future. We will work with them, and Victoria Prentis MP, local Councillors and Councils and the Keep the Horton General group, in the spirit of co-production, to continue to champion our hospital and the community it serves.”
Member of Parliament for Banbury Victoria Prentis added: “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.”
Victoria received a full statement from OUHFT on the speculation:
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.