Radio Horton exclusively spoke with Dr. Veronica Miller, Clinical Director for Women’s Services concerning the possibility of suspension of the obstetric services in the Horton’s maternity unit. The Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust recently announced its contingency plans to convert the unit to a midwife led facility, following the difficulties in recruiting obstetric doctors.
In an exclusive interview with the station, Dr. Miller explained that the struggles to fill the middle grade doctor posts was a nationwide issue but stressed the hope was the contingency plans, would only be temporary, until a time when the obstetric services could be reintroduced.
Dr Miller said: “For quite a long time it’s been quite difficult to attract middle grade doctors into the post. When it comes to October we are not going to have enough obstetric doctors in post to be able to provide a safe service. We really do want to keep business as usual. We are having to warn people, in case it happens but we really want to maintain the service.”
The full interview can be heard on our Mixcloud channel.
Meanwhile, in response to concerns regarding difficulties recruiting obstetricians at the Horton following the termination of accredited training, Banbury Guardian journalist, Roseanne Edwards told Radio Horton: “We’ve heard that some of the clinical fellows have been denied the opportunity to gain the extra experience and training at the John Radcliffe. I had a conversation with a Paramedic who painted a terrifying picture of what is likely to happen if a woman with a serious complication is subjected to a journey, that if it’s snowing and they’ve got to try and get to the John Radcliffe in rush hour, it’s sure to be curtains – there’s nothing they can do.”
Chairman of Keep the Horton General Campaign, Keith Strangwood added: “They’ve been trying to shut the Horton down for many years. We cannot let this happen because there is a real risk we could lose a new life. There is nothing more important than a new life, and we’ve heard so many stories about the outcomes of childbirth from parents who delivered at the Horton, that would not have otherwise made it to the John Radcliffe.”
Meeting to determine whether the obstetric service at the Horton needs to be suspended
The Board of Directors of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will now hold an Extraordinary meeting of the Trust Board on Wednesday 31 August at 3pm at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. The meeting will consider whether or not obstetric services at the Horton General Hospital will be suspended from the end of September this year because of problems recruiting obstetric doctors to maintain the service at the Horton.
If the service is suspended the Trust will offer a midwifery-led unit until such time as there are sufficient obstetric doctors in post.
The meeting is taking place on Wednesday 31 August as this is the last possible date that the Trust can decide to implement contingency plans whilst still having time to put them in place. Although the meeting has to be at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford for logistical reasons, ways to enable people who wish to view the meeting but cannot travel to Oxford are currently being considered.
Dr Bruno Holthof, Chief Executive said: “The Trust is trying very hard to fill these posts. At our meeting we will need to look at the numbers of obstetric middle grade doctors we will have available to us at the Horton in October and take a decision with patient safety in mind.”