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Column 20th September 2017

Slow progress on the future of Wantage Community Hospital

It’s more than a year since the Wantage Community Hospital closed its doors to in-patients on a temporary basis.

The “imminent” consultation which was to decide its fate has been postponed yet again and it is very unlikely that a decision will be taken until late 2018.

The results of the health survey performed by Wantage and Grove Councils appear to suggest that everyone is frustrated by the lack of the ability of the Health Centre on Mably way to get the money necessary to pay for the expansion it so desperately needs.

The Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group has now reported the results of the consultation held earlier this year.

They have confirmed the permanent closure of 110 acute beds with a further 36 to close in the future.

There will be only one single intensive care unit, one hyper acute stroke unit and only one specialist obstetric unit for Oxfordshire and the unit at the Horton will be permanently downgraded to be “Midwife Led” (like our unit in Wantage).

So as expected, the consultation exercise was a waste of time and they did what they wanted to do in the first place.

The second phase of the Transformation Programme will focus on proposed options for the reconfiguration of:

● Urgent and emergency services:

● Rehabilitation beds for stroke patients

● Paediatric services

● Planned care services across the county

● Community hospital services

● Maternity services and

● Primary Care.

This will include looking at the use and viability of our own Community Hospital.

There are rumours that it could close and could be sold and the funds might (just might) be used to fund the expansion of the Health Centre on Mably Way, but of course the funds would just go into the NHS and we’ve had promises about the expansion of the Health Centre before which haven’t been kept.

It seems ironic that the community found the money to build the hospital in the first place and might now be in a position where they have to pay for it again if they want to maintain local health services.

In my utopian world, the NHS would return the hospital to the Community Trust (which still owns the land that Sanctuary Care occupies) and we could have our midwife led maternity care, respite care and rehabilitation care.

At the same time, the NHS would fund the expansion to the Health Centre and additional GPs and diagnostic services would be based there.

Well, I can dream can’t I?


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