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Column 28th March 2018

Hospitals update sounds good but we must keep pushing

At their board meeting on March 29th the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) received a Transformation Programme Update.

The Oxfordshire Transformation Programme has been running since 2015 and had a phased approach to its proposals for change.

In July 2016, when they ‘temporarily’ closed Wantage Community Hospital to In-patients, we were told that “the future role of Wantage Community Hospital (as with all community hospitals) should be included in the planned public consultation in the autumn” 2016.

Nearly 2 years later and there has still been NO public consultation on community hospitals.

The Update for the Board meeting refers to the referral of the OCCG proposals on the Horton Hospital to the Secretary of State and his Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP).

In the letter from the Panel to Mr Hunt, regarding the temporary closure of the consultant-led maternity services at the Horton they say ‘…that a closure for this length of time (nearly 2 years) exceeds what can be considered to constitute a temporary closure…’

The Update continues by stating that regardless of the recommendations from the Secretary of State/IRP regarding the Horton, the operating model for the Maternity Units in Chipping Norton, Wantage and Wallingford will remain in place.

The Update goes on to say that the community hospitals “must be considered within the context of the health and care needs of the local populations they serve, the state of the actual buildings, the rurality and size of the local population (including growth)”.

The OCCG and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust have agreed that discussions about the community hospitals need to be more about what services are required in the local area and how best the community hospitals might support this, rather than a county–wide consultation on whether they should be removed or remain. But they also say that there will be no phase two consultation.

So we don’t know how they intend to make decisions about our Community Hospitals.
We need to make sure that we get the opportunity to show the depth of feeling about our Community Hospital and explain clearly that we require our hospital to reopen with Maternity, Rehabilitation, Physiotherapy and Respite care being available to the residents of Wantage, Grove and the surrounding area.

This will supplement the primary care services that should be provided in the expanded Health Centre if that ever happens.

No mention is made of Primary Care in the update to the OCCG.


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