In January, the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) published the first part of its consultation on the future of NHS services in Oxfordshire. The proposed Oxfordshire Transformation Programme could have significant implications for Bicester Community Hospital (BCH), as well as the Horton General Hospital in Banbury.
Ahead of today’s consultation event in Bicester, Bicester Conservatives are urging local residents to respond to the consultation.
Phase one of the consultation will run for 12 weeks from Monday 16 January and will include:
- Critical care (life threatening or serious injuries and illnesses) at the Horton
- Acute stroke services in Oxfordshire
- Maternity services, including obstetrics, the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) and emergency gynaecology in North Oxfordshire
- The provision of hospital beds.
Phase Two of the consultation, which will cover A&Es, children services, and community hospitals, including Bicester Community Hospital, is expected to begin in May.
What happens to the Community Hospital is a concern for us all. Bicester Conservatives fought to secure a community hospital for the town and remain committed to ensuring vital care remains in Bicester.
Richard Mould, leader of Bicester Town Council says: “While the status of Oxfordshire’s community hospitals will not be consulted upon until phase two of the CCG’s consultation, we are concerned that the outcomes determined in phase one, may impact phase two, and that in turn might have a detrimental effect on healthcare provision in Bicester.”
Echoing Councillor Mould’s concerns, Lawrie Stratford, Friend of the Community Hospital and Bicester North County Councillor says: “Bicester Community Hospital provides important outpatient clinics, inpatient rehabilitation and palliative care. I do not wish to be speculative about the CCG’s proposals in the second phase of their consultation, but we must be alert to the potential risk to our services. We have already seen the closure of Wantage Community Hospital. I do not want the same outcome for Bicester. We have a brilliant healthcare facility right on our doorstep – this needs to be protected and enhanced.”
Today’s consultation event comes after months of increasing concern across North Oxfordshire about the delivery of both acute and non-emergency hospital services. Much of this is as a result of changes to acute service provision at the Horton General Hospital, particularly the downgrade of its maternity services to a midwife-led unit.
Councillor Michael Waine who represents Bicester Town on Oxfordshire County Council, says: “We know from speaking to residents that many have already been affected by changes to Horton services. In Bicester, residents can make a choice on where their care is delivered, especially emergency care. It is hugely important that the Horton remains a fully functioning, acute General Hospital.
Overreliance on an already stretched John Radcliffe is both unsustainable and unsafe. Patient safety, especially that of expectant mothers and babies must be the priority. Travelling from Bicester to Oxford is problematic at the best of times. Forcing women in labour and dangerously ill patients to be rushed to the John Radcliffe significantly reduces their chances of positive outcomes. For this reason, we are supporting the campaign of our Banbury colleagues, and Victoria Prentis MP, to maintain vital acute services, including consultant-led maternity, in Banbury. Bicester Conservatives will remain a strong voice for residents.”
Should you wish to have your say on the Oxfordshire Transformation Programme, please visit: https://consult.oxfordshireccg.nhs.uk/consult.ti/BigconsultationPhase1/consultationHome