Liz spoke exclusively with Andrew Stevens – Director of Strategy and Planning at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to help explain the ongoing public consultation in connection with the five year Government sustainability and transformation plan and the future of the Horton General Hospital.
Listen again to the interview:
Phase one of the public consultations include proposals in changing the way in which hospital beds are used, and increasing care within the home environment, planned care services at the Horton General Hospital, acute stroke services, critical care and maternity.
Mr Stevens told Radio Horton: “There are a range of clinical services within the Oxford University Hospitals, either where we have had to make changes, for example the maternity hospital at the Horton, or where we think there are very strong safety, quality or clinical sustainability issues that need to be brought forward. For that reason and that there’s further work required on the other services, the OCCG felt it was best to undertake two consultations”.
The Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee have referred the decision around maternity to the Secretary of State. The Trust stressed that they are still unable to recruit obstetric doctors to post within the Horton, though accepted the HOSC’s decision to refer the case, with the Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee having decided the proposal would bring a significant change and should be reviewed by the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt.
One of the greatest challenges in the Oxfordshire Health and Care system is the ability to attract, recruit and retain skilled doctors and staff in the number it needs. Liz asked whether it would be possible for some services to be brought to the Horton General Hospital in Banbury, where housing prices are cheaper, and availability is in greater supply.
Mr. Stevens added: “As part of the proposals, we would see an additional 90,000 patients from the Horton catchment population who currently have to travel to Oxford to be treated at the Horton. These proposals will bring more services to the Horton.”
The Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust vision is that the Horton General Hospital will stay open and become a hospital fit for the 21st century. The OUH NHS FT is planning to invest significantly in the hospital so it can continue to develop and change as health care evolves and meets the needs of local people.
The South Central Ambulance Service has been involved within the consultation and proposals; emergency care around strokes have been made in consultation with the ambulance service, the main consultation on urgent care services will take place in the second public consultation, and the Ambulance Service will be fully involved in the discussions surrounding this.
Quizzed about the Horton Treatment Centre, operated by Ramsay Health Care Services, which is housed on the site of the Horton General Hospital, it was advised that the hospital could play a more significant role in reaching some 90,000 patients who currently receive treatment at the John Radcliffe in Oxford but live in the Horton catchment area.
“The Ramsay is a core facility for the Horton going forward. Under the original contract, there is scope for the building to come back to the NHS, and we are currently in discussions with the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and the Ramsay team about the options and ensuring we are making the best use of the building, to begin the process of moving the 90,000 patients that are currently within the Horton catchment area to be treated at their local hospital.”, Mr Stevens explained.
The Big Health and Care Consultation continues until 9th April 2017. More consultation events are taking place between now and the end of March across the county whereby the public have opportunity to share their views on the proposals. Visit the Oxfordshire Health Transformation NHS website for further details.