Last Thursday was the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) Board Meeting and Annual General Meeting.
The OCCG is the organisation that has responsibility for commissioning health services in Oxfordshire for the NHS.
They work closely with the County Council (who have responsibility for Social Care) and fund services at both the Oxfordshire University Hospitals Trust (OUHT) and the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust (OHFT)
OUHT run the acute hospitals like the John Radcliffe and the Churchill as well as maternity services and OHFT are responsible for paying the GPs, district nurses, physiotherapy services, etc. and running the Community Hospitals.
People wanting to save Wantage Hospital attended both of these OCCG meetings.
You may have seen the article in the Oxford Mail last week which stated that the cancer hospital at the Churchill has had an ongoing issue with Legionella-positive water samples since it opened in 2009.
We asked the OCCG why Wantage hospital had closed temporarily because there was a possible risk to patients of Legionella-positive water samples, when the Churchill has had similar problems and not closed.
They couldn’t give us an answer stating that no-one from OHFT was present.
We asked if our hospital could be re-opened because if the Churchill isn’t closed to in-patients then our community hospital shouldn’t be closed either.
Still no answer.
There were 18 board members sitting around the table but no representative of OUHT or OHFT. Does this show the level of notice that these two organisations take of the OCCG?
Almost of the board members were GPs from the various Locality groups around Oxfordshire (North East, South East, West, Oxford City, North, and South West).
We’re in the South West and our representative is Dr Jonathan Crawshaw from Berinsfield Health Centre.
At the Annual General meeting we asked many questions about the future of the hospital and the lack of space at the Health Centre.
I seem to remember asking questions about the possible expansion of the Health Centre periodically since 2012 when a planning application for a care home to be built behind the Health Centre was turned down (supposedly because the expansion of the Health Centre was imminent).
The answer last Thursday was less positive “we are working to make the most of existing facilities”.
The best news of the evening was that the OCCG is beginning to work with the County and District planners to build health strategies into Local Plans. About time too!