THIS IS A HISTORICAL ARCHIVE OF OUR SUCCESSFUL 2008 CAMPAIGN.
Archive continues from this point
of Banbury is celebrating today, as the ORHT's unsafe and inhumane
proposals have been rejected at the highest level. In an amazing victory
of common sense over bureaucracy, the Secretary of State has followed
the IRP's recommendations and thrown out the hugely unpopular proposals.
celebrated the news with an impromptu victory march through the town
and up to the Horton, meeting delighted staff on the maternity and
Campaign chairman George Parish, elated by the news, said "We
desperately need safe children's and maternity services in Banbury.
We're just over the moon that we've still got them. We can't thank
everyone enough for all the effort they've put in to save our services.
Lives WILL be saved as a result of this decision!"
IRP's report included 6 recommendations which the ORHT must follow.
While they accept that services will have to change at the Horton,
the IRP clearly stated:
IRP does not support the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals (ORH) NHS Trust’s
proposals to reconfigure services in paediatrics, obstetrics, gynaecology
and the special care baby unit (SCBU) at Horton Hospital. The IRP
does not consider that they will provide an accessible or improved
service to the people of north Oxfordshire and surrounding areas"
"The Oxfordshire Primary Care Trust (PCT) should carry
out further work with the ORH NHS Trust to set out the arrangements
and investment necessary to retain and develop services at the Horton
Hospital. Patients, the public and other stakeholders should be fully
involved in this work"
can read the IRP's report, appendices and press release here:
IRP report on the Horton General Hospital
IRP press release
like to say THANK YOU to the members of the IRP, who have taken the
time to really listen to the people of Banbury, understand our situation
and, we believe, reached the right decision.
do we go from here?
the IRP have told us the result they expect to see - the retention
of paediatric services, obstetric services and SCBU - and are leaving
it up to the PCT, ORHT, and stakeholders to determine the right way
to do that.
looking forward to playing a full part in that process.
EVERYONE WHO'S HELPED US WIN THIS FIGHT
numerous to name at this time; but particularly to our long-suffering
for all the support they've given us over the last two years.
- from everyone on the Keep the Horton General Committee
the excellent Banbury Guardian website for coverage of the events
of 20 March 2008 - video of our victory march, and the ORHT's Trevor
Campbell Davies' reaction; and comments from the major players in
the fight to retain our essential services.
have recently become aware of a key document that should have been
provided to all the stakeholders, a Transport Briefing Paper. Amongst
a lot of new information, it reveals that 1,800 children per year
are expected to need ambulance transfer to the JR, rather than the
ORHT's previously stated figure of "just" 700. Some areas
of the site will still reflect the old figures as we are pushed for
time finalising and presenting information to the IRP.
Our report to the IRP
Our report presents information and arguments we have become
aware of since submitting our original consultation response to the
ORHT in October 2006.
our report to the IRP here
report to Lord Darzi review on the future of the NHS
This report is not confined to the ORHT proposals but encompasses
many problems faced by the NHS
our report to Lord Darzi here
the full report of the ambulance trip here
chairman appeals for the public to speak out
an open letter to the people in the Horton's catchment area, IRP chairman
Dr Peter Barrett has called for anyone with new information, or who
feels that their voice has not been heard, to speak out. Read
Dr Barrett's letter here.
statistics that prove the need for full services at the Horton
- the number of days between June and mid November 2007 that GPs were
asked to divert all Acute cases to the Horton - because
the JR couldn't take them.
- the number of times, between January and October 2007, the Horton's
children's ward admitted children from the JR, because the JR was full.
137 - the number of times, between January and October 2007, the Horton's
children's ward admitted children from the Stoke Mandeville, Milton
Keynes, Kettering and the JR, because they were full.
- the projected increase in the population of the Cherwell Area in the
next 15 years (CDC) Indeed, several GP practices
in Banbury are closing their books because they cannot cope with the
influx of new patients.
- the number of miles the Health Secretary was heard saying was "too
far" for a pregnant woman to travel to get the help she needs
- the number of miles from the Horton to the JR
- the number of "Horton" women, per year, who would be booked
to deliver in Oxford under the proposals (ORHT to Banbury
- the number of high risk, mid-labour transfers predicted by the ORHT
every yea r (ORHT consultation document)
700 - the number of children needing urgent transfer from Banbury to
the JR, every year (ORHT consultation document)
nurses come out fighting
(Source - Banbury Guardian, 15 November 2007)
nurses at the Horton have given the IRP a catalogue of concerns over
patient safety if downgrading goes ahead. Staff on the ward –
which the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Trust wants to replace with a daytime
clinic – say children and babies will be at risk and families
will suffer if plans are approved. The delegation from the IRP visited
the Horton last Thursday (8 November 07).
nurses handed the delegation a four-page document offering evidence
against the changes, admitting that staff had been reluctant to speak
out for fear of reprisals from the Trust.
is our last chance to prevent reorganisation we believe will be detrimental
to the health care of children in this area," they said in their
also cast doubt on the ability of A&E to cope with emergencies involving
children. And they stressed the new Oxford Children's Hospital was suffering
such a recruitment crisis, the fully-staffed Horton has more acute general
paediatric beds open than Oxford.
their letter, they say:
Newborn babies will be at risk
Overstretched ambulance services will be unable to transfer sick children
to Oxford quickly enough
The proposals are not costed adequately and with a 'weak' financial
rating for use of resources, the trust cannot guarantee to fund its
The John Radcliffe is too stretched to manage extra patients. The Horton
– including the children's ward – has been 'on divert' for
the John Radcliffe for nearly a quarter of this year, taking overflow
patients destined for Oxford.
Horton also takes cases from Milton Keynes and Stoke Mandeville. These
safety nets would disappear if downgrading takes place.
nurses cast doubt on proposed paediatric cover in A&E after downgrading
and said breaches of maximum waiting times would inevitably occur as
children waited for transfer to Oxford. Sick children, currently offered
'open access' to the paediatric ward, would have to be admitted to Oxford
as a precaution.
will be children who will be admitted to Oxford when a period of observation
or a discharge with open access would have been sufficient," the
nurses said."This will be putting further pressure on beds... and,
we believe, will put up the admission rate by about 50 per cent."
say the plan's reliance on community nurses – tending children
at home to reduce admissions – is flawed with geographical gaps
in provision and no recruitment proposals.
health service must be organised for the benefit of patients not staff...
We do not forget 24-hour paediatrics was introduced following the unnecessary
death of a child. What has changed? We are not convinced a reduction
in service costing more to run is safe, fair or logical. In April 2008
the Government are introducing choice for patients.
In what way does closing paediatric services offer choice for the locality
of north Oxfordshire?
this decision is taken it cannot be reversed.Our area is growing rapidly
and its health services should be developing, not declining to meet
nurses' letter in full
Secretary says "20 miles is too far"
Secretary Alan Johnson - who will take the final decision on whether
maternity and children's acute services will be ended in Banbury - went
on radio last week to say 20 miles was 'a bit far' for women to travel
to give birth.
We were delighted to hear his common sense declaration, which bears
out our assertion that the 25 - 30 mile journey to the John Radcliffe
would risk the lives of women and babies suffering complications in
We hope the Health Secretary's statement will be taken into account
by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel. The panel started acquainting
itself with the Horton in mid November and has appealed to the local
population for evidence to help them decide the matter.
Speaking on the Steve Wright show Mr Johnson responded to concerns about
remodelled maternity services after a presenter suggested mothers feared
travelling 20 miles rather than two to a maternity hospital. Mr Johnson
said: "You shouldn't be going 20 miles. Twenty miles is a bit far.
"I have final decision over these things and I've said I don't
want it. I'll refer it to the panel led by clinicians. I want them to
make the decision.
"It's not about resources, it's about saving lives. It's about
the NHS so advances in modern science and new technology and advances
demography, where people are much more assertive and want services to
closer to them. We can meet all that, but it does mean change and people
don't like change."
Keep the Horton General campaign leader George Parish said: "If
is 'a bit far' then 26 miles is indisputably too far. He talks about
clinicians but who are they? Consultants at distant, specialist units?
Because here in Banbury GPs, midwives and children's nurses who are
closest to families have roundly condemned these proposals as unsafe
"The best option is the one we have now. I believe the panel should
be listening to people in the front line here. Momentum is gathering
against these changes."
Dr Peter Fisher, retired Horton consultant, said: "The Royal College
of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists stated in September 2007 'To date
evidence of safety is not available to support the positioning of midwife
led units distant from the support of obstetricians, anaesthetists and
"'Transfer times are unpredictable and the vunerable and disadvantaged
may be the first to suffer'. This means the Royal College does not support
the trust's view.
"They also said that when an emergency does occur at home or in
a midwifery led unit the transfer time to hospital is crucial and it
favours midwifery led units on the same site as consultant care."
the campaigners at the switching-on of the Christmas lights
KTHG campaigners will have a market stall for the switching on of Banbury's
Christmas lights on Sunday 25 November. Please come and have a chat
to us between 12 and 5pm - there's nothing we like more than spreading
join 7,000 others for national protest march
campaigners joined about 7,000 people in the 'I love the NHS' march
in central London on 3 November 2007. As the NHS nears its 60th birthday,
the marchers aimed to publicly celebrate its successes, show how much
it means to so many people, and protest against privatisation and
chief Karen Jennings told the colourful crowd that a health service
that is free at the point of need and paid for by taxation should
be cherished. London mayor Ken Livingstone sent a message to the demonstrators
by video, saying the NHS was the "single most important social
advance of my lifetime".
the Horton" facebook group started
the Horton" group set up on social networking website Facebook
by supporter Liz Allcroft has signed up a staggering 800 + members in
the first 24 hours. Membership now exceeds 2,400 and continues to grow.
Campaign leader George Parish congratulated Liz on succesfully reaching
out to the younger people of Banbury.
took the initiative and created this group because she is a passionate
Horton supporter. We're really pleased to have her on board", he
said. "The younger people of Banbury are proving that they really
care about our hospital. We hope that they all take a few minutes to
email the IRP and tell them how much the Horton matters to them - their
support could make all the difference"
need to join Facebook to view the site)
Baldry leads Commons debate on the future of District General Hospitals
Baldry highlighted the threat to the Horton in his commons debate on
the future of district general hospitals, on Wednesday 10th October
2007. Mr Baldry and fellow MPs attacked the only minister who attended
- junior health minister Ann Keen - explaining in detail the reasons
why district general hospitals must not be stripped of vital and basic
debate was attended by MPs from across England as well as a delegation
of Keep the Horton General campaigners.
the meeting Mr Baldry said: "I was greatly encouraged that 13 MPs
from Cornwall to Lancashire turned out to support this debate. It was
extremely disappointing that the junior health minister Ann Keen didn't
feel able to respond to a single point that I or any other MP put. Such
indifference indicates a combination of arrogance and contemptuousness
on the part of ministers."
leader George Parish, who is also a Labour councillor on Banbury town
and Cherwell district councils, said: "Ann Keen was the only Labour
MP there and she was bombarded with a vast catalogue of damning facts
am incredulous that my own party can be so blind to what is happening
at grass roots level. She made no effort to assuage the immense anxiety
expressed by MPs on behalf of their constituents.
her to tell us 'sometimes we have to encourage our peer group to accept
change' is as helpful as Marie Antoinette telling the poor to eat cake."
text of Tony Baldry's speech
councillor George Parish loses faith in party policies - press release
medics oppose downgrading of children's services
by top medics for a halt to the drain of children's surgery from district
hospitals (DGHs) to regional centres have been welcomed by Horton campaigners.
Retired Horton consultant & KTHG campaigner Dr Peter Fisher said
the Children's Surgical Forum (CSF) report was as an important voice
of reason during the nationwide drive to move acute services to regional
said emergency surgery for children at the Horton would be endangered
and day cases that developed complications would mean uncomfortable
transfers to Oxford if Banbury's 24-hour paediatric ward is lost. "Although
planned surgery other than day case is mainly done in Oxford, emergency
surgery is carried out for children of three years and over at the Horton,"
he said. "This includes emergencies like appendicitis and strangulated
hernias and trauma cases such as fractures requiring operations under
Keep the Horton General Campaign (KTHG) is delighted the CSF 'opposes
the wholesale shift of paediatric surgery to tertiary centres',"
said Dr Fisher.
CSF report calls for the downward trend of paediatric surgery at district
general hospitals to be 'halted and reversed' and provision of sufficient
workforce to ensure service needs. And it says health reforms must not
jeopardise the provision of safe, local care for children, care must
not be subject to 'market forces' and it 'feels strongly that national
action is required to secure safe services locally'.
Fisher said: "This supports what the KTHG has said – the
trust has not protested with sufficient vigour against such policies,
preferring to cite them as enforcing the chosen strategy"
ORH confirmed that without a 24-hour in-patient service at the Horton
children's surgery requiring overnight care will not be done in Banbury.
Of 84 emergency procedures done at the Horton last year the majority
would have been transferred to Oxford under the current downgrading
to the Banbury Guardian for allowing me to plagiarise of the text of
their article, above. This is due to shortness of time, following the
safe delivery of my daughter at the Horton on 5 September. Thanks to
all the midwives - you were great!
College of Midwives opposes downgrading at Horton
Banbury branch of the Royal College of Midwives has written an open
letter to the Banbury Guardian to confirm their position that the current
service is the best option for women, their babies and families.
a meeting on September 13 with our Royal College of Midwives (RCM) regional
representative, the Banbury Branch of the RCM writes to confirm its
position with regard to the proposed changes to services at the Horton
The branch wishes to make it clear that the majority of its midwife
members have expressed their support for maintaining the full range
of maternity and paediatric services at the Horton. The current service
provides true choice for the benefit of women, their babies and families.
births are the aim of all midwives, but the branch is aware that even
with careful screening, it isn't always possible to predict problems.
branch notes an article of August 30 which quotes comments made by the
clinical working group that the proposals were the "safest option."
The branch does not consider the changes to be the safest option when
compared with the present service.
Over the past few weeks, it has been made clear through the Banbury
Guardian by local women of the wide variety of situations that have
been dealt with successfully by the Horton and that they wish the full
coverage of the current service to continue.
The local RCM wishes to reiterate its support for the women and families
served by the Horton and will be campaigning to maintain the current
Banbury branch of the Royal College of Midwives"