In July 2016, I wrote: “The in-patient facility at Wantage Community Hospital temporarily closed to new patients on Friday 1st of July and all existing patients were relocated by the 8th July. As far as we know Physiotherapy and Maternity services are currently operating normally.”
In October 2017 the Physiotherapy services across Oxfordshire were transferred to Healthshare Ltd and the services in Wantage Hospital closed as the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust who own the hospital didn’t offer space in the hospital to the new service provider.
The Save Wantage Hospital Group, and Hospital League of Friends have continued to campaign to get all services returned to the Community Hospital.
The rally, a year ago, when over 1000 people gathered to express their concerns that it still hadn’t re-opened gave the groups a strong impetus to continue the campaign and people wearing their “Save Wantage Hospital” t-shirts attend every Oxfordshire Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) meeting.
In November 2018, the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and the Oxfordshire Health and Wellbeing Board approved an OX12 Project to determine the health and wellbeing needs of the OX12 area and people from the campaign to Save Wantage Hospital joined the project team.
As part of the project they asked that physiotherapy be returned to the hospital as an act of good faith to show that services could be re-opened.
They were told at the HOSC meeting on February 7th 2019 that Physiotherapy would return to Wantage Hospital. At the April 4th meeting they were told it would be up and running in the next 6 weeks.
Now, July 2019, mid-wife led maternity remains open but the in-patient facility remains “temporarily” closed and physiotherapy still has not returned.
The OX12 project launched a survey into the health needs of the residents and over 1300 people responded.
In their responses, some people stated that they wanted the hospital to be re-opened, and some specifically said that they wanted Physiotherapy, Maternity, End of Life care, Respite, Rehabilitation and a Minor Injuries Unit to be returned to the hospital.
People also commented about GP services, specifically with concerns relating to waiting times to see a GP. It was felt that the Health Centre at Mably Way should be expanded and more GPs recruited.
People felt that more services could be provided within OX12 to reduce travel times to facilities in Abingdon and Oxford.
The OX12 project should produce its report by the end of 2019.