The results of a study conducted by the University of Birmingham into the role of community hospitals, patient experience and the relationship which community hospitals have with their local community was released on 22 January 2019. For details see Study on community hospitals.
They analysed 267 community hospitals with beds across the country.
The findings showed that people described a holistic and personalised approach to care and said that it felt different being a patient in a community hospital compared with elsewhere: it felt more like home because of its location and familiarity, environment and atmosphere, and the relationships between staff, patients, families and the community.
Jon Glasby, Professor of Health and Social Care and Head of School of Social Policy at the University of Birmingham said: "Our study shows how community hospitals are contributing to 'community value' through important functions within the communities in which they serve. When difficult decisions are made about funding and future service provision for community hospitals therefore, policy makers need to take into account a broader notion of value, focusing equally on the ‘value’ to patients and communities as on the money ."
This confirms exactly what the residents of Wantage and Grove have been saying since the minor injuries unit in Wantage Community Hospital was temporarily closed in 2002 and the in-patient facilities temporarily closed in July 2016.
We want our hospital re-opened so that it can play the important role it has in our community again!
Nearly 1,000 people attended the Save Wantage Hospital Rally in the Market Place on Sunday 22 July. A very peaceful march hiding a depth of feeling. Many of these people were born in the hospital and even more have been treated there in the past. They want to be able to use it again.
After the match we wrote again to the Chairman of HOSC (Oxfordshire Health, Overview & Scrutiny Committee) to express our concern :
Dear Councillor Fatemian
We wrote to Stuart Bell at the Oxfordshire NHS Health Trust about our Hospital earlier this year, I believe you were copied in on the correspondence. You will have also seen recent correspondence from my colleague, Maggie Swain, about the depth of feeling shown by the march and rally in Wantage on 22 July this year. It is now more than 2 years since Wantage Community Hospital was temporarily closed due to the possibility of health and safety issues.
In the words of the Independent Reconfiguration Panel regarding the temporary closure of the consultant-led maternity services at the Horton General Hospital ‘…that a closure for this length of time (nearly 2 years) exceeds what can be considered to constitute a temporary closure…’.
When Wantage Community Hospital closed a statement from Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust Communications Team said ‘…the future role of Wantage Community Hospital (as with all community hospitals) should be included in the planned public consultation in the autumn.’ It is now more than 2 years later and there has still been NO public consultation on community hospitals. Wantage Community Hospital remains “temporarily” closed to In-patients.
We know that our population in 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 local people travelling as far as Chipping Norton for physiotherapy and would expect a full consultation to support the need for community beds to support a population growing dramatically. We may be a community on the edge of Oxfordshire but our needs should be considered in the same way as all other residents. Please help us to get our hospital re-opened now before it has been closed for more than 2 years.
We ask that you include the temporary closure of our in-patient facilities and the removal of local physiotherapy services on the agenda of the HOSC meeting on 20 September 2018 and that HOSC do the same for Wantage as they did for the Horton and ask the Secretary of State to require our Community Hospital to be reopened until such time as a full consultation can take place.
He responded much more quickly than he had in the past.
Many thanks for your email below and for copying me on recent communications. I am well aware of the strength of feeling around Wantage Hospital and it is fantastic to see so many people marching in support of a local facility.
I am also aware that planned consultation has been somewhat delayed, as you point out below. This is a point of frustration and was raised at the last HOSC meeting during our discussions with the CCG and with Oxford Health Foundation Trust.
The actions of the minutes from this item are very clear, and have since been re-iterated so there can be no doubt about what the committee expects at its September meeting. Specifically, a concrete plan of action, with timescales and deadlines etc, on plans and consultation for the future of Wantage Hospital.
Prior to this being presented, it would be premature for HOSC to take any action. However, the committee will have the chance to receive this information at it’s September meeting and decide on appropriate action. I would just highlight that although the Secretary of State did agree that two years was too long to be considered temporary, He did not rule that the maternity ward should be reopened at the Horton and it is also important to consider this precedent in mind when considering action,
I have no doubt that you, along with many other supporters of Wantage Hospital will be present at the meeting in September and I look forward to welcoming you then and hearing the proposals on consultation for the future of the hospital.
From That's Oxfordshire
To see the earlier video please click the button
From That's Oxfordshire
Wantage Community Hospital was opened in 1927 and replaced Wantage Cottage Hospital in Belmont. It was paid by the community.
Wantage Community Hospital became part of the NHS in 1948. We remained responsible for the building and equipment with the NHS providing the staff. Local people raised the money to install the lift, build the day rooms and install an X-ray unit.
In 1974 the Hospital was handed over in good faith to the NHS for them to run it. The League of Friends continued to provide for patient comfort and paid for the first birthing pool in Oxfordshire.
Our Community Hospital has been threatened twice before in 1998 and 2006 yet survived.
Its minor injuries unit closed temporarily in 2002 and has yet to reopen.
The in-patient beds closed temporarily in 2016 because of the threat of Legionella bacteria in water pipes and have yet to reopen (Legionella had been found in the hospital at the beginning of 2016 without closing wards and has happened in the JR Acute Care Hospital in Oxford without closing wards).
Physiotherapy moved out in 2017 due to lack of communication in the Health Trusts.
The hospital currently only provides mid-wife led maternity services. All other services have been closed.