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Column 4th July 2018

Getting the whole community behind our hospital needs

Two years ago in July 2016 Oxford Health NHS Trust ‘temporarily’ closed Wantage Community Hospital to in-patients.

There is no news on when it will reopen, if at all.

Wantage Community Hospital was given to the NHS in 1948. It has been threatened with closure in 1998 and 2006 and has survived. Its minor injuries unit closed temporarily in 2002 and has yet to reopen.

The only service currently being provided by the hospital is the maternity unit, which is staffed 7 days a week and midwives and support workers are on call overnight.

Until it was closed “temporarily” to in-patients in July 2016 it also provided physiotherapy as well as rehabilitation and palliative care for people who no longer required the services of an acute hospital. We were promised a consultation into the future of the Hospital in October 2016 but it hasn’t happened yet.

Stuart Bell, Chief Executive Officer of Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust recently told us “that a new approach has been proposed by Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group to discuss the future of healthcare in each of the localities of Oxfordshire (not just the future of the community hospitals in isolation) instead of the … consultation, and I expect that the issues you raise about the future of the hospital will be addressed as a part of that.”

He gave no indication of timeframes.

We have also asked that the Health Oversight and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) do the same for Wantage as they did for the Horton Hospital and ask the Secretary of State to require our Community Hospital to be reopened until such time as a full consultation can take place.

We have not had a reply from County Councillor Arash Fatemian (chairman of HOSC).

We know that the Vale has a high proportion of older people who require rehabilitation after a stay in hospital and these services (as well as Maternity and Physiotherapy) have been supported by the local community ever since the hospital first opened in 1927.

We currently have residents travelling as far as Chipping Norton for physiotherapy and would expect a full consultation to confirm the need for community beds to support a population growing dramatically.

We are organising a protest in Wantage on Sunday 22nd July.

We are meeting on the green next to Foliat Drive in Wantage at 2.00 and will walk past the Community Hospital at about 2.15 and on to the Market Place. Please join us.


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