After analysing the current consultation documents for Phase One of the ongoing consultation, Victoria Prentis, Member of Parliament for North Oxfordshire wrote to the Chief Executive of the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUHFT), Dr Bruno Holthof.

Victoria was shocked to read in the documents for the consultation that the public meeting of 25 August 2016 was listed as a public engagement exercise by the OUHFT and OCCG. The question and answer session, held in St Mary’s Church, Banbury, was in fact an event organised jointly by Victoria and Banbury Town Council. Victoria’s office were given written assurance by Director of Clinical Services, Paul Brennan, that the event would not make up part of the wider consultation engagement by the Trust or the OCCG, but was simply an opportunity for the people of Banbury to have their questions answered.

In a response from Dr Bruno Holthof, he stated that the event will not be removed from the consultation documents, and that it is “an example of a meeting that took place to engage with the local population prior to the formal consultation period.”

After reading the response, Victoria commented: “I was quite disappointed that the OCCG and Trust are suggesting that the Q&A event last August was an engagement exercise by the Trust. At the time, it had recently been announced that the Horton maternity may be downgraded, and the people of Banbury wanted answers. Had my office and the Town Council not sought to arrange such an event, many of us would have still been left clueless. I do feel that listing it as a form of engagement is misleading, and suggests that the CCG have done more than they have to engage with the people of North Oxfordshire.

This is another example of the contempt in which the people of our area seem to be held by the OUHFT and OCCG.”