protests at parliament and People's Park

Our hospital provides vital services to Banbury's growing population.

Consultant-led Maternity, SCBU, 24/7 Children's Ward, A&E, orthopaedics and Critical Care Unit under threat.

Here’s what people are saying about it

Press releases

Celebrating the 150 year anniversary of the Horton General Hospital - press release dated 13 July 2022

KTHG response to HHOSC meeting - press release dated 28 November 2020

Lou Patten applauds the work of Keep the Horton General - press release dated 12 January 2020

KTHG reaction to HHOSC meeting - press release dated 20 September 2019

KTHG to benefit from Banbury United Lottery Fund - press release dated 10 May 2019

Court of Appeal hearing - the result - press release dated 11 April 2019

KTHG at the Court of Appeal - press release dated 16 March 2019

KTHG press release on outsourcing of scanning from the Churchill - press release dated 23 February 2019

KTHG press release on HHOSC meeting, 26 November 2018 - press release dated 30 November 2018

KTHG win right to appeal - press release dated 2 November 2018

KTHG attend House of Commons debate - press release dated 12 September 2018

KTHG media coverage - press release dated 28 August 2018

The status of Keep the Horton General - press release dated 23 May 2018

OCCG paper on the future of the Horton General Hospital - press release dated 23 March 2018

NHS in Crisis demonstration, 3 February 2018 - press release dated 1 February 2018

KTHG agree to press ahead with appeal - 17 January 2018

Horton maternity referred to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel - 11 January 2018

KTHG went to the Royal Courts of Justice - 11 December 2017

KTHG goes to the Royal Courts of Justice - 13 November 2017

Hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice - 5 September 2017 (press release dated 4 September 2017)

Under The Covers fundraising event - 25 August (press release dated 14 August 2017)

Reaction to OCCG decision (press release dated 12 August 2017)

52 beds lost at JR trauma unit due to cladding (press release dated 7 August 2017)

OUHFT takes consultant to court over parking offence due to their own "dysfunctional" parking system (press release dated 21 May 2017)

Overcrowding, overspending and rocketing A&E attendance - a week of bad news for the OUHFT (press release dated 11 May 2017)

Last chance effort to reach local people before consultation deadline (press release dated 2 April 2017)

KTHG announce legal challenge in partnership with local councils (press release dated 30 March 2017)

When a "safe" delivery goes wrong - making the case for a full obstetric-led service in Banbury (press release dated 16 March 2017)

A reasonable use of public funds? (press release dated 12 March 2017)

Horton supporters join massive London NHS demo (press release dated 6 March 2017)

Great news as HOSC refers Horton case to Sec. State for Health / Independent Reconfiguration Panel (press release dated 2 February 2017)

Expectant mothers told to position themselves "close to JR" as snow looms (press release dated 15 January 2017)

Educating Oxford - KTHG trip to tell Oxford residents about the effect that the Horton closures and STP will have on them (press release dated 14 November 2016)

Lord Ashdown visits the Horton - promises issue of Sustainability and Transformation Plans will be examined in the House of Lords by a cross party group coordinated by Norman Lamb (press release dated 20 October 2016)

Trust AGM - OCCG board meeting - HOSC referral vote. Three crucial meetings in one week (press release dated 28 September 2016)

Autumn Fair and Teddy Bear's Picnic - KTHG fundraiser and publicity event (press release dated 20 September 2016)

Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee report (press release dated 19 September 2016)

Keep the Horton General's legal challenge (press release dated 6 September 2016)

Joint statement by all political parties in the Banbury constituency (press release dated 2 September 2016)

Campaigners consider legal challenge over maternity closures at Banbury hospital (press release dated 1 September 2016)

Hands Around the Horton (press release dated 21 August 2016)

Threats and how you can help (598 words)(press release dated 22 June 2016)

Threats and how you can help (218 words) (press release dated 22 June 2016)

Hands off the Horton - AGAIN! (press release dated 15 June 2016)

Oxford traffic chaos hinders ambulances (press release dated 25 April 2016)

RCOG threat to maternity units (press release dated 24 January 2016)

E Ward and ambulance update (press release dated 1 December 2015)

Meeting with Victoria Prentis MP: new OUFT chief exec promises to consult on options (press release dated 17 November 2015)

Endoscopy and roadworks (press release dated July 2015)

Editor Jason Gibbins leaves the Banbury Guardian; KTHG meet new Banbury MP Victoria Prentis (press release dated July 2015)

Hustings at St Mary's (press release dated March 15)

Public meeting on 5 February 2014 (press release dated Jan 14)

Lobbying pays off - HOSC to look into axing of EGS 8 November 2013

KTHG appoint new chairman 17 June 2013

Letters to the Banbury Guardian

Welcome investment - but at what cost? - 12 March 2016

E-ward earmarked for overnight closure - 30 November 2015

Banburyshire unrepresented on key committee - 19 September 2013

Royal College of Surgeons report does NOT recommend removal of Emergency Surgery - September 2013

Unconvincing spin - 12 September 2013

NO reason given! - 29 August 2013

Even a boil is re-directed to the JR - 11 July 2013

The annoying persistence of “George Parishs lot” - 30 May 2013

Good service locally - July 2013

Remuneration - 16 May 2013

Welcome investment - but at what cost?

12 March 2016

After decades of apparent neglect, it is extremely encouraging to hear that at last the Oxford University Hospitals Foundation Trust (OUHFT) is planning a major investment in buildings at the Horton. The benefit will be fewer patients having to travel to Oxford for their outpatient appointments.

We know that the building costs will be phenomenal, but we do not know the price that the rapidly increasing Banburyshire population will have to pay for this munificence. This is likely to involve downgrading of Critical Care and, despite the Trust's recently stated commitment to both services, could also mean the loss of consultant led Maternity and Paediatrics.

Members of the public will have the opportunity to question Andrew Stevens, OUHFT Director of Planning and Information who will be presenting the strategy at the Open Meeting of the North Oxfordshire Locality Group Patient Forum on Tuesday 22nd March at 7.15 pm at Banbury Town Hall.

Jenny Jones, Claydon.

E-ward earmarked for overnight closure

30 November 2015

Following the article in the last edition of the Banbury Guardian we are once again witnessing the steady drip of acute services being drained from the Horton as E-Ward is earmarked for overnight closure under the paltry excuse that this is linked to the solving of delayed transfers of care.

It is very good that solving the delayed transfer of care problem will make more beds available and provide the opportunity to perform more day surgery. But a backup is always needed for day surgery patients who cannot be sent home immediately and need to stay overnight in a surgical ward (ie. E-Ward). With more day surgery performed, surely there will an even greater need for the ward to stay open.

E-Ward is also used for surgery, gynaecology and mastectomy patients who are required to stay in hospital for at least one night. Does this mean that this type of surgery will no longer be performed at the Horton? As the only other surgical ward, F-Ward is unlikely to have the capacity to deal with everyone.

The Oxford University Hospitals Foundation Trust (OUHFT) states that this is a temporary measure and if it is to be made permanent it will be subject to consultation. We are all aware of the OUHFT's idea of consultation after the loss of Emergency Surgery (ie. do it first and then tell them later at a location inaccessible to many people). We are told that there will be no redundancies, but also that members of staff are very upset. Does this mean that surgical nurses will be transferred to partly solve the perpetual recruitment problem at the JR?

As the stealthy downgrades continue, and with the Clinical Commissioning Group openly resenting the £2.3 million that they are spending on Paediatrics, before long we may turn around to find that our beloved District General Hospital has become a glorified clinic.

We need to be on our guard and to remain in readiness for full scale public protests before we allow that to happen.

Jenny Jones, Claydon.

Banburyshire unrepresented on key committee

19 September 2013

Since January, when emergency abdominal surgery was suspended at the Horton General Hospital, members of the Banburyshire public have suffered inconvenient, time consuming and frequently unnecessary trips to Oxford. There has also been the niggling worry that due to the distance involve there could be a death en route. One hope was that there would be an opportunity to reverse the decision as a result of public consultation.

We were first promised by Oxford University Hospitals Trust (OUHT) that there would be a formal consultation on this change, but it now appears to have been absorbed in a general review by the commissioning group of all services across the county.

We now rely on the Oxfordshire Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) to rule that a specific consultation is required on this removal of a service which is already having consequences that were not spelled out in January. When the Horton was last threatened with the loss of consultant-led maternity and paediatrics it was the HOSC that was instrumental in referring the issue to Secretary of State, with the eventual consequence that the proposal was overturned.

But the present composition of HOSC is very different to that time, with those individuals who were aware of the situation in our area no longer having a seat on the committee.

The committee consists of mainly county and district councillors chosen by their political parties. There is apparently no obligation to ensure and even spread across the county.

As a result, the north of the county has no representation on the HOSC, which appears to be completely unaware of the effect of this change on the Banburyshire public.

Jenny Jones
Keep the Horton General

Royal College of Surgeons report does NOT recommend removal of Emergency Surgery

September 2013

The long-awaited, much delayed, Royal College of Surgeons report has finally been released in redacted (censored) form on Bank Holiday weekend. What does it tell us? Not a great deal...

It appears now that the college experts were only asked to give their opinion on the results of laparoscopic (keyhole) gall bladder surgery at the Horton and on the Oxford University Trust’s decision to transfer all emergency operations of this type to Oxford from November 2011, following an internal audit.

The report endorsed this decision and advised that the number of surgeons performing laparoscopic cholecystectomies should be reduced at both sites.

The long delays in releasing the report, despite requests from the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and numerous others under the Freedom of Information Act, naturally fuelled speculation that the report was much more wide ranging and had relevance to the Trust’s removal of all emergency surgery from the Horton.

The Trust should have made clear at an early stage the limited nature of the report and could have released the recommendations which contain no redactions.

What the report does do however is to criticise a number of serious failings in the management of the general surgical service over a period of time. The Trust is now addressing these but it has to be asked how much part these failures played in the staffing crisis which forced the sudden removal of all emergency surgery from the Horton in January, a move which the Trust intends shall be permanent.

The report provides no support for this, so the Trust must now produce the evidence to justify its actions.

Whatever arguments may be produced in favour of super specialisation, there are many other considerations and KTHG will be presenting the other side of the case on behalf of the people of Banbury, whose views need to be heard. In this we would hope to work with the Banbury GPs who are well placed to know about the problems these changes are already making for their patients.

Keith Strangwood
Keep the Horton General

Unconvincing spin

12 September 2013

It is most reprehensible the Oxford University Hospital Trust (OUHT) has kept the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) report under wraps since December 2012, having removed gall bladder operations from the Horton in 2011 and then all emergency abdominal surgery (EAS) in January 2013 - a move for which there was no recommendation in the report.

This was quickly followed up by removal of all emergency general surgery (EGS) to Oxford.

Then after numerous Freedom of Information requests by various interested parties, a bank holiday was chosen to air the report - in the knowledge there would be a minimal audience.

That is cynical and totally unbecoming of a large hospital trust that expects people to believe that it wants to develop and strengthen services at the Horton. But this is the sort of behaviour I have come to expect from the OUHT. The trust looks to the general public to support it in taking an even more independent and unsupervised role by becoming a Foundation trust.

I suggest it needs to increase public confidence by using openness rather than ‘spinning and managing’ the news to its own advantage.

Having reduced numbers in the Horton’s emergency surgical team to the point where there was no alternative but to transfer the work to Oxford, I now learn the OUHT intends to recruit two extra emergency abdominal surgeons for the Oxford site.

Nowhere in the RCS report is there a recommendation that EGS be removed from Banbury. Why then is not a rota system installed?

As a member of the OUHT, the Horton General is just one site amongst four; it just happens to be 25 miles away and serve a catchment of 160,000 people in Banburyshire! But perhaps looking to enhance patient convenience would not suit the purposes of the surgical service hierarchy and managers of OUHT?

I remain unconvinced by the protestations of innocence from OUHT when confronted with accusations of reducing our general hospital to no more than a daily clinic despite the RCS describing the Horton as an acute general hospital.

Peter Burrows
Keep the Horton General

NO reason given!

29 August 2013

As the long awaited report from the Royal College of Surgeons is released to interested parties and the general public - see - I wonder why anyone with a vague knowledge of the Horton’s recent history would be surprised by its contents?

There is no damning indictment within its pages and all the cloak and dagger chutzpah 'we can’t release the report because of HR reasons’ is proved to be blatant poppycock (since members of staff involved are named!)

So almost nine months of prevarication leads us to a document that does contain a number of serious criticisms of the OUHT Trust management - amongst other things - but does at no stage recommend the withdrawal of Emergency Abdominal Surgery.

So why was the service withdrawn? I guess the endless excuses as to why the report couldn’t be released might have given us a clue. There was no reason!

Charlotte Bird
Vice chair of Keep The Horton General

Even a boil is redirected to the JR

11 July 2013

I thank the Banbury Guardian (July 4) for highlighting my concerns and problems with hospital services.

Since the Oxfordshire University Hospitals Trust’s removal of what they call EAS (emergency abdominal surgery) from the Horton General Hospital in January, we might think of specialist procedures and life changing surgery. But the scenario I found myself in recently, highlighted by the Banbury Guardian, uncovers the true impact of the loss of EAS at the Horton.

Following the decision by the OUHT to remove this local service from our hospital, all non-elective - ie, non pre-arranged surgery, no matter how major or minor - will be re-directed to the Oxford JR Hospital by your respected and trusted GP.

What this means in reality is that instead of a visit to our local, fully acute Horton Hospital, if you have even a minor surgical problem you will, thanks to the OUHT budget saving exercise, have to face a trip to the Oxford.

This means one hour or so in traffic, a couple of hours in a queue and the possibility of repeat visits at a cost of around £12 fuel per visit and £3-£5 parking cost at every attendance.

I wish to point out the Horton has not lost specialised EAS surgery, it has actually lost the ability to carry out any non pre-arranged general surgery.

Many local Horton users have been in contact with me, shared similar concerns and asked me what is going on with our Banbury Horton? A consultation process is soon to be launched by the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group regarding Oxfordshire Hospital services.

The OCCG assumed responsibility in April 2013 and has taken control of delivering services to Oxford Hospital users via contracting services from the OUHT.

The OCCG is a group of our GPs and led by Dr Steven Richards. These are the GPs we all respect and trust.

I hope they will hold the OUHT to account and consider the reinstatement of the Banbury Horton Hospital to its much needed full-acute status. If you have had similar concerns and wish us to take them up on your behalf please call the KTHG group on 0786 6857515.

Keith Strangwood
Chairman, Keep the Horton General

The annoying persistence of “George Parish’s lot”

30 May 2013

During his appearance before the select committee on February 12, Robert Francis QC stressed that patient groups and the like were to be encouraged to make representations to chief executives and managers of hospital trusts over any fears they might have concerning the running of their hospitals.

Sir Jonathan Michael’s letter to Sir Tony Baldry of May 1 criticises both the Banbury Guardian and Keep the Horton General campaigners for wasting his staff’s time by asking questions and raising concerns.

Sir Tony, a previous supporter of the efforts of KTHG, saw fit to post this letter on his website, presumably with Sir Jonathan’s agreement, thereby providing a platform for Sir Jonathan’s remarks and using his influence in support of the views of the CEO of OUHT.

One has to wonder what was to be gained from publicly criticising both KTHG and the BG in this fashion and putting about assumptions concerning the purpose of the questions and fears being raised on behalf of the residents of Banburyshire. Both talk about transparency. Three consultant surgeons have been removed from the rota, one as far back as September last year.

Sir Tony says "there has been no opportunity yet for local GPs to give their comments on the quality of abdominal surgery at the Horton prior to the suspension and give their views on whether it is sensible or otherwise to transfer such surgery to the JR."" Yet we were categorically told at the last CPN Meeting that the decision would not be reversed.

Meanwhile, it is intimated that we should be ever so grateful for the decision to set up a dialysis unit. Without Miranda Berry’s persistence this would still be a pipe dream.

We still have an Obstetric service but, if it had not been for the persistence of "George Parish's lot" it is doubtful if many birth certificates for future Banburians would state "Place of Birth, Banbury"!

It is reported that the John Radcliffe has recently taken on five new EAS surgeons to cope with the increased demand - doesn’t take rocket science to work that one out!

Peter Burrows
Keep the Horton General

Good service locally

July 2013

Can I convey my thanks and appreciation for the exemplary attention I received from the Banbury Horsefair surgery and the Banbury Darzi drop in centre following a minor Surgical procedure that I had on June 27.

After my previously reported treatment at the Oxford JR I subsequently required repeated dressing and inspections after the procedure.

The JR requested that I should make repeated stressful and costly returns to Oxford for follow up attendances for a mere dressing procedure. I subsequently refused and called upon the Banbury local services.

I would like to praise and thank the Banbury Horsefair Surgery and the Darzi Centre for their outstanding service, personal attention and professionalism during the three weeks following my procedure.

From the reception staff to the nurses and GPs, they are a credit to Banbury and we are lucky to have them.

It seems the Oxfordshire University Hospitals Trust has its own priorities in regards to NHS service delivered in Banbury - mostly led by budget savings that recently resulted in a £32,000 bonus for Chief Executive Sir Jonathan Michael for his achievement in reducing spending by more than £8 million regarding Oxfordshire NHS delivered services.

Keith Strangwood
Keep the Horton General


16 May 2013

The chief executive of the Oxfordshire University Hospital Trust receives £217,500 a year salary and recently received a bonus of £32,000.

I would appeal to Sir Jonathan Michael to reply and tell us of the many hours he must give to warrant such a huge annual salary.

Keith Strangwood
Keep the Horton General