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Column 9th October 2019

Wantage hospital situation looks worse than ever

There was an item in the Herald last week which mentioned that Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust has confirmed that it will reopen Oxford’s Community Hospital following its closure in May on safety grounds due to a critical lack of staff.

While we support this good news we remain concerned that our own Community Hospital remains temporarily closed for yet another winter.

It’s coming up to 3½ years since the temporary closure of inpatient beds during which time the Trust has probably spent nearly £500,000 on maintaining the building.

For those of you who don’t have long memories, it was temporarily closed because of the risk to patients after Legionella-positive water samples were found in the Hospital in January 2016.

The closure didn’t take place until July and no further positive samples were found in the period between January and July.

Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust have always stated that they have the money necessary to make the necessary changes to the water system to eliminate any risk but have refused to do the work.

The cancer hospital at the Churchill has had an ongoing issue with Legionella-positive water samples since it opened.

The cancer treatment facilities, which opened in 2009, have never closed to patients because of the risk of Legionella so why did our Community Hospital have to close?

We do have a serious problem with a shortage of local health services in OX12 and it seems to take the NHS a very long time to do anything about it.

When our Health Centre on Mably Way was built in 2003 for the Church Street and Newbury Street GP Practices, the plans proposed that a further two wings would be built onto the Health Centre when needed.

Despite assurances from NHS England in 2012 that plans would be submitted shortly to meet the needs of our GP practices, no planning application has yet been submitted.

Most outpatient clinics are based in Oxford and County Council plans for bus gates to reduce the number of cars in Oxford will mean that the journeys to the clinics and other hospital appointments will get even harder.

Residents of OX12 travelled to Oxford for their outpatient and follow up appointments 48,470 times over a 2 year period (April 2017 to March 2019).

Given the focus on carbon reduction, when are our health and care services (NHS and County Council) going to realise that they have to provide services here in OX12?


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