Category Archives: Victoria in North Oxfordshire

VICTORIA PRENTIS MP VISITS BANBURY FIRE STATION

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On Friday 17 March Victoria Prentis,  Member of Parliament for North Oxfordshire, was given a warm welcome by the local fire and rescue team at Banbury Fire Station.

After introductions from Group Manager, Kerry Blair and Station Manager, Steven Anderson, Victoria spent some time meeting the crew and looking around the station and its appliances.

The visit was a good opportunity for Victoria to spend some time with the crew, talking about issues that they come across within their role at a full-time fire station. Discussions centred on road safety in the area and risks relating to electrical appliances.

Following the visit, Victoria commented: “Visiting Banbury Fire Station gave me a real insight into the problems that the crew come across every day. They are regularly involved in road traffic collisions, and witness terrible scenes. I was pleased to have the opportunity to discuss a number of important issues with the crew, many of whom risk their lives almost every day for our safety.”

Simon Furlong, Deputy Chief Fire Officer of the Oxfordshire County Council Fire & Rescue service said: We were extremely pleased to welcome Victoria to the station to see first-hand the great work Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service do on a daily basis as part of the wider county services. Victoria attended the station shortly after the operational crew had just returned from dealing with a serious road traffic collision which highlights the broader role of the service.

Injuries and fatalities on our rural roads are still too high and we are asking drivers to slow down and ‘break before the bend’. 1 in 3 road deaths occur at bends on rural roads in Oxfordshire and speed plays a major part in this.”

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Victoria Prentis with a Banbury fireman at the fire station on Friday 17 March.

Last week to get involved in Victoria’s JR travel times survey

Victoria Prentis, Member of Parliament for North Oxfordshire, is encouraging her constituents to take part in her campaign to collect information on Journey times from the Banbury area to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. The campaign closes on Monday 27th March, so this is the last week that constituents can get involved.

The survey is being undertaken in order to provide the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) with accurate travel times between Banbury and the JR. This is particularly important following the decision to downgrade the Horton maternity unit, and the ongoing consultation on the future provision of services at the Horton. The information that we receive will be collated and then sent to the OCCG to help them come to the right decision.

The campaign is open to anyone travelling from Banbury and the surrounding area to the JR for an appointment, or to visit a relative. The survey involves filling out a short form on the details and times of the journey. So far over 350 people have responded, and Victoria is looking forward to receiving many more responses.

Victoria commented: “I am deeply concerned about the impact of increased travel times on my constituents travelling to hospital for appointments or in order to visit relatives. The journey between North Oxfordshire and the JR can be extremely unpredictable, and parking at hospital is often a problem. This needs to be considered as part of the ongoing consultation over the future of NHS services in Oxfordshire. I am delighted that so many people have taken part so far, and it would be excellent if as many more people as possible could get involved in this last week of the campaign.”

If you are travelling to the JR from the Banbury area, you can fill in the online survey here, or request an electronic version of the form at victoria.prentis.mp@parliament.uk.

Please post your photos of you leaving and arriving, and the time your journey took, on social media, using the hashtag #Banbury2JR.

VICTORIA PRENTIS MP HAS ‘DINNER IN THE DARK’ TO RAISE AWARENESS OF THE GUIDE DOGS FOR THE BLIND ASSOCIATION

B&DWM-2611A homebuilder has hosted a dinner with a difference to raise awareness of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

David Wilson Homes invited members of Adderbury parish council, as well as the MP for North Oxfordshire, Victoria Prentis to join a local guide dog user, Brian, and his dog Wixy and directors of the company to the dinner.

As well as sitting down to eat a two course lunch while blindfolded, the eight guests took part in a series of everyday tasks such as counting money, colouring and completing a jigsaw. They were also given the chance to try on glasses which replicated various visual impairments, in order to put themselves in the shoes of someone with sight loss.

Felicity Stratton, Community Fundraiser for Guide Dogs, was among the guests to talk about the important work the guide dogs do and run the activities. Felicity said: “Enabling others to understand some of the difficulties encountered by people with a visual impairment is so important, we are grateful to David Wilson homes for their continued support and hosting such an interactive event. 

“Every hour another person in the UK goes blind.  When someone loses their sight, the charity guide dogs is here to make sure they don’t lose their freedom as well.”

Victoria Prentis, MP for North Oxfordshire, said: “’Dinner in the Dark’ was a really interesting experience and made me appreciate just how challenging everyday tasks are for those who are visually impaired. Even the most basic but vital things that we take for granted, like cooking and eating a meal, can become difficult and frustrating. I am very grateful to David Wilson Homes for hosting this innovative event.”

John Fitzgerald, Managing Director at David Wilson Homes Mercia said: “We are delighted to be supporting the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association as we have for a long time had a strong affinity with the charity. We recently sponsored a Guide Dog puppy through its first year of training.

“It was fantastic to have Felicity, Brian and Wixy attend the event to give us all a new perspective on life with a visual impairment. It was a fantastic experience and we hope to continue working with the charity in the future.”

 

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VICTORIA PRENTIS MP COMMENTS ON BANBURY TOWN CENTRE RESEARCH

Following reports that a research company was approaching specific members of the public in Banbury Town Centre last weekend on behalf of the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Victoria Prentis MP has commented:

“Since before the consultation was launched I have been extremely concerned about how the Clinical Commissioning Group planned to engage with minority groups to ensure their views were accurately represented in the exercise. At no point have I suggested that this should be done by instructing a private company to stand in the middle of Banbury High Street and specifically target people between 16 and 24 years old, ethnic minorities or those with a disability, while turning away other willing participants. Reports that those who did take part were offered Health Lottery tickets as an incentive are extremely concerning.

“The future of acute services at the Horton General Hospital is uncertain. We need to be reassured that the Clinical Commissioning Group is taking this consultation seriously. This exercise by Qa Research – which I have written to the CCG about direct – and the fact that it has taken almost 8 weeks out of the 12 week consultation period for hard copies of the proposals to be printed in Urdu and Polish leaves us questioning the entire process once again. It is simply not good enough.”

A letter to the Chief Executive of the Clinical Commissioning Group was sent earlier this week and can be found here.

LOCAL MP VICTORIA PRENTIS CALLS FOR INCREASED AWARENESS OF RISK OF SUDDEN INFANT DEATH SYNDROME

North Oxfordshire MP and Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Baby Loss, Victoria Prentis, has joined The Lullaby Trust in urging local authorities to ensure health professionals in the South East receive the training and support they need to deliver safer sleep messages to all families. The call comes as part of Safer Sleep Week, the charity’s national campaign to raise awareness of SIDS (often referred to as cot death) and the lifesaving advice that parents can follow to reduce the risk of it occurring.

The national survey commissioned by charity The Lullaby Trust, found that 61% of parents in the South East are unsure of one of the most fundamental steps to reduce the risk of SIDS: ensuring a baby sleeps on its back. Evidence shows that babies who are on their back for every sleep are 6 times less likely to die from SIDS than those who sleep on their front or side.

The survey shows 36% of South Eastern parents are unsure whether they can sleep a baby on their front and a staggering 61% are unsure whether to sleep a baby on their side.

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, while the overall SIDS rates in 2014 for England and Wales showed a 17% decline since 2013 and a 39% overall decline since 2004, the rate in the South East has fallen by an impressive 45% since 2004 and is lower than the national average.

Victoria Prentis said: “While considerable progress has been made over recent years, more can and should be done. Health professionals and family workers play an important role in providing advice to new parents on how their baby should sleep safely. It is essential that they receive the training and support to continue this vital work.”

Francine Bates Chief Executive of The Lullaby Trust, whose aim is to halve the number of babies who die from SIDS to below 150 said: “The results of this survey suggest that although we’ve come a long way in reducing SIDS rates, more needs to be done to ensure that all parents and carers in the South East know the basics of safer sleep. The Lullaby Trust provides training for around 3,500 health care professionals each year and calls on local authorities to ensure that safer sleep messages consistently reach all families, helping  to prevent avoidable deaths now and in the future.”

MP GETS A HELPING HAND FROM WOMBLES IN LITTER TIDY UP

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On Friday 3 March 2017, Victoria Prentis, the Member of Parliament for North Oxfordshire, travelled around her constituency raising awareness of the anti-litter campaign, the Great British Spring Clean.

Friday marked the start of the campaign’s flagship weekend, with over 58,000 volunteers spending time litter-picking across the UK.  The Great British Spring Clean is an initiative that aims to bring together people to clear up litter across our towns, villages, countryside and coastlines.

As part of the event, Victoria got in touch with schools across North Oxfordshire to tell them about the campaign, and encourage them to participate. She then decided to visit the schools across the constituency who took part in the Spring Clean.

Starting in Bicester, she visited King’s Meadow School to lead an assembly based on the effects of litter on the area, including the impact it has on animals. After this, she went on to meet the eco-warriors at Bishop Loveday Primary School in Bodicote, Banbury. Following a tour of the school she joined in an assembly with the eco club, who had spent the morning litter picking in their local area.

Finally, Victoria had some help from a couple of Wombles at Tudor Hall School, where she delivered an assembly to the year sevens about the effects of microbeads and single-use plastic bottles on our oceans and animals. After the assembly, Victoria, the Wombles and students did some litter picking of their own, armed with bags and gloves.

At the end of the day, Victoria commented, “It was brilliant to see so many young people enthusiastic about tidying up their local area. The Great British Spring Clean aims to get as many people as possible involved in litter-picking and cleaning up their towns and villages.

I was glad to be able to educate young people about the damaging effects of litter, and it was particularly exciting to be joined by two of the Wombles, Orinoco and Uncle Bulgaria.

I often drive through the constituency and have concerns about the amount of litter left lying about, but it was good to be involved in a weekend of spring cleaning across North Oxfordshire.”

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Victoria presents a certificate to the ‘eco-spies’ at King’s Meadow School, Bicester.

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Victoria with The Wombles at Tudor Hall School, Banbury.

VICTORIA DISCUSSES LOCAL POLICING WITH AREA COMMANDER

On Monday 6 March 2017 Victoria Prentis MP met Superintendent Kath Lowe at her constituency office in Upper Heyford. Superintendent Lowe is the Local Police Area Commander for Cherwell and West Oxfordshire, part of which covers Banbury, Bicester and rural north Oxfordshire.

During their discussion, Victoria heard about recent policing successes and learnt about the challenges faced by the local force. Victoria also had the opportunity to raise specific cases with Superintendent Lowe on behalf of her constituents. Superintendent Lowe updated Victoria on the progress of the ongoing restructuring programme being carried out by Thames Valley Police, which will improve the way police services are delivered across the Thames Valley.

Following their meeting, Victoria said, “I always welcome the chance to speak to Kath Lowe and other local police commanders. The relationship between an MP and his or her police force is very important, and we regularly share information about specific cases and local issues. As an MP I am presented on a weekly basis with difficult cases which require police involvement, and I am very grateful for the hard work the police do on behalf of our communities.

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Victoria Prentis MP with Superintendent Kath Lowe.

VICTORIA PRENTIS MP CALLS FOR CCG TO HALT CONSULTATION PROCESS

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On 27 February 2017, Victoria Prentis, Member of Parliament for North Oxfordshire, spoke in a Health and Social Care debate in the House of Commons.

Victoria has been in discussion with a number of her Westminster colleagues to express concerns about the quality of the current consultation in Oxfordshire. She has raised particular worries about the impact of the proposals on the Horton General Hospital, and the content of the consultation documents.

Leading the debate, Dr Sarah Wollaston, MP for Totnes, outlined concerns about the financial position of health and social care matters, and the impact of the current financial situation on patient care.

During the debate, Victoria was able to express her concerns surrounding the Horton General Hospital and the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) ongoing consultation process and stated: I thank my hon. Friend for listening to me on a number of occasions when I have been worried about the situation in Horton General Hospital. She has been kind enough to talk me through some options. One of the difficulties with the consultation process is that lay people—of whom I am one—are not given sufficient evidence to enable them fully to engage with the system and to have trust in the trusts that are seeking to engage them.”

In response, Dr Wollaston commented that: “It is important that this evidence is available not just to us, but to the local community. There should also be a sense that consultations are a genuine process.”

Victoria is now calling on the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group to halt Phase One of the consultation, in order to give the people of Oxfordshire a true say on the future of local NHS Services. She commented: “It is clear from my own research, and the discussions that I have had with colleagues, that the current consultation process, commissioned by our CCG is not good enough. We are not being provided will the full picture, and I am deeply concerned about the future of the Horton and other vital health services.

This consultation is, in my view, fatally flawed. True consultation involves offering options on which the consultees can comment having seen the evidence they need to make informed choices. This is not the case here. The Oxfordshire CCG must pause their consultation until they are ready to consult on all health services, together. Safety of patients should be paramount. Splitting the consultation, does not give us a sense that it is a genuine process, and it must be stopped.”

VICTORIA PRENTIS MP QUESTIONS TRUST AND CLINICAL COMMISSIONING GROUP

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.”

BICESTER HOSTS CONSULTATION EVENT

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On Tuesday 21 February 2017, a public meeting was held by the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) in Bicester, to discuss Phase One of the ongoing Health and Care services consultation in Oxfordshire.

Victoria Prentis, the Member of Parliament for North Oxfordshire, was unable to attend owing to the timing of the event and her commitments in Westminster. Victoria has expressed a number of concerns about the consultation process, the future of the Horton General Hospital in Banbury, and the impact of the consultation on health services in Bicester.

Phase One of the consultation includes proposals on critical care at the Horton, acute stroke services in Oxfordshire, hospital beds, planned care at the Horton, and maternity services in the north of the county.

While people in Bicester quite often have the choice of either the John Radcliffe (JR) in Oxford or the Horton in Banbury, any changes made to the Horton may limit that choice.

Phase Two of the consultation, expected to begin in the Autumn of this year, will include discussions on services in Bicester such as GP surgeries and Bicester Community Hospital. There is concern that while Phase One does not directly affect services in Bicester, any decisions made following this period of consultation by the OCCG will have a direct effect on Phase Two.

The consultation event follows months of increasing concern about the future of maternity and emergency hospital services in the north of Oxfordshire. For many in Bicester, the Horton General Hospital is a vital local service, and more accessible than Oxford’s hospitals.

At Tuesday’s public meeting, questions were raised over the capacity of local doctors’ surgeries, alongside parking and travel times to the JR. A member of Victoria Prentis’ staff asked whether Bicester mothers could be given the option to deliver their babies at the Horton, as it is understood that increasing birth numbers in Banbury might allow for an obstetric unit to be reinstated.

Following the meeting, Victoria commented: “I was very disappointed that I could not attend the Bicester meeting in person. Holding a public event during the day excludes the majority of the town’s population, particularly young families who rely heavily on services at the Horton.

While I am very concerned about the future of the Horton in Banbury, I am also worried about the future of health services in Bicester. We have seen one closure of a well-supported GP surgery, and the Community Hospital is an important service for many of us.

I would be very interested to hear from any of my constituents in Bicester who regularly use, or may use in the future, NHS services at the Horton.

In the meantime, I will continue to liaise with the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group about their plans for health services in my constituency, and I strongly encourage my constituents to take part in the consultation.”

More information about the ongoing consultation can be found on Victoria’s website or the consultation website: www.oxonhealthcaretransformation.nhs.uk//.

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