WaGCG : Wantage and Grove Campaign Group
Wantage and Grove Campaign Group (WaGCG)

Column 28th April 2021

Wantage Hospital In-Patient beds to remain temporarily closed

Last week I talked about the Oxfordshire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) which was about to take place.

One of the items on the agenda was the OX12 project which looked at the health and care needs of the residents of OX12 and was supposed to come up with recommendations. It didn’t.

The Committee admitted that the project had failed.

Diane Hedges, Deputy Chief Executive of the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) simply confirmed that the future plans for Health and Care Services in OX12 will be determined as part of the Community Services Strategy.

As part of this strategy development Community Services, there is a draft Strategic Framework 2021 on the Oxfordshire NHS Foundation Trust Website which is available for comment.

If it’s like any of the previous consultations, you can comment but don’t expect them to take any notice.

It does say that ‘delivery of the strategy will be shaped by engagement with key stakeholders and local communities to ensure it meets the needs of patients across Oxfordshire.’

At the HOSC meeting Ms Hedges stated categorically that our health services “have let our patients down”. “There is not enough reablement” (care after illness or hospital discharge) in the County.

Yet the beds in Wantage Community Hospital still remain “temporarily” closed after almost 5 years.

Those beds used to provide a really good re-enablement service, giving patients back the confidence they need to cope at home after a stay in an acute hospital as well as end of life care close to home.

Now, according to the CCG they will remain “temporarily” closed for at least 17 more months and are very unlikely ever to re-open.

Back in 2016, the only legal reason for closing the beds was health and safety – due to the possibility of legionella bacterium in the pipework in the hospital at the time.

Last year, the pipework was finally replaced and the risk of legionella disappeared. So why weren’t the beds immediately re-opened?

If the CCG had a different agenda and just wanted to close the beds they should have held a formal consultation then.

Now we just hear more and more excuses and diversions into strategy discussions.

There are still in-patient beds in many other Community Hospitals across Oxfordshire, so why not in Wantage?

There’s a petition of over 10,000 signatures asking for the beds to be re-opened. We’ve held two successful rallies in Wantage Town Centre. Is it time to do this again?

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