On Friday 12 May, Victoria joined Revd Philip Cochrane and members of the public to plant a new Baby Loss Memorial Tree in People’s Park, Banbury. The new tree replaces one that was planted last year to mark Baby Loss Awareness Week, and was kindly donated by an anonymous Banbury resident.
Following the ceremony, Victoria said: “It was so sad to lose the first tree, but I am really grateful to the generous donor who has made sure that local people once again have a special place to remember lost babies and children. I was delighted to be involved in the re-planting, and I can’t wait to see the tree grow and flourish in the years to come.”
Baby Loss Awareness Week will take place on 9-15 October 2017.
‘I know that some people would have liked the opportunity to see Jeremy Hunt today.
I completely understand that people are disappointed that they did not manage to see the Secretary of State today and ask him their questions about the future of the Horton. The brief visit was arranged very recently and, until today, it was uncertain whether he would be able to come at all. Given the depth of feeling locally, I was worried that any advertising of his visit might result in a demonstration. While I strongly believe that there is a time and a place for peaceful protests, such as the Hands Around Our Horton event last year, this was not it. This was a private visit, in which I was able calmly to express our concerns.
While I have spoken to the Secretary of State about the Horton on a number of occasions, I have always felt it was vital that he should come and see the hospital and the local area for himself. We sat in the car in Oxford-bound traffic and I showed him several of the new housing developments, and told him about the rest. I gave him my response to the Clinical Commissioning Group’s recent consultation, which includes anonymised submissions from local residents about their concern for local healthcare services. I was able to discuss the future of A&E, maternity and paediatrics with him in detail, to talk about our worries about the domino effect of service removal and to explain the results of the travel survey fully. We were able to talk and listen to local people who passed by.
I have always believed the Horton to be above politics, and have valued the cross-party nature of our campaign. The fight is as personal for me as it is for everyone else who lives locally; it is a fight I am determined to win. For me, the time I had today with the Secretary of State was simply the best opportunity to get our case across. That is why I did not publicise the visit in advance. By the end of his visit, the Secretary of State could have no doubt about the strength of feeling towards our much-needed local hospital.’
On 11 May 2017, Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, visited Banbury. The Conservative candidate for North Oxfordshire, Victoria Prentis took the opportunity to show Mr Hunt the Horton General Hospital site, and its surrounding area. She was also able to give him a copy of her response to the Transformation Programme Phase One consultation and to explain in detail the challenges facing the Horton.
In particular, they focused on travel times to Oxford, population growth, traffic congestion and patient safety. They were also able to talk to local people, and experience part of the journey to Oxford.
Victoria Prentis commented: “I have frequently discussed the future of the Horton with Mr Hunt, and have invited him to visit the site for some time. I was very pleased that he was able to do so. It was very helpful that he could come to Banbury in order to understand our concerns
“The Horton is a worry for us all; I continue to work closely with local elected officials, as well as the Department for Health. We need acute services in Banbury. Despite the election campaign, we must continue to put pressure on the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to ensure the future of services at the Horton.”
For further information on Victoria’s work with the Horton General Hospital, please visit www.victoriaprentis.com/horton-general-hospital/.
Victoria Prentis attended the ceremonies for the new Mayor of Banbury, Cllr Colin Clarke, and the new Mayor of Bicester, Cllr Les Sibley. Both are experienced holders of public office, with Cllr Clarke beginning his second term as Mayor having served in the role from 2010 to 2011.
Speaking after the event, Victoria commented: ‘It is always a pleasure to see this important, traditional ceremony in action. I wish Cllr Clarke and Cllr Sibley all the best in their new roles.’
With the General Election campaign now in full swing, Victoria Prentis has been out and about with local Conservative supporters to deliver leaflets outlining her vision for North Oxfordshire in the coming years. Victoria has made it clear that she supports the strong leadership provided by Prime Minister Theresa May, and she stands by the Conservative commitment to support education, healthcare and defence.
Speaking after her first campaign action day, Victoria said: ‘It has been great to get out campaigning again. I really believe in Theresa May’s vision for a strong Britain, and I know that it will be right course for the people of North Oxfordshire as well as the country as a whole. However, the Horton General Hospital is always at the forefront of my mind, and I want to make it clear that it is just as important to me as the wider national issues. I look forward to discussing the opportunities and challenges facing North Oxfordshire in the years to come. I am sure there will be many lively discussions on the doorsteps!’
On Friday 5 May, Victoria held a Meet the Candidate drop-in session at McDonald’s restaurant in Banbury town centre before visiting the Banbury Beer and Cider Festival. With the General Election campaign now in full swing, Victoria enjoyed the opportunity to meet voters in an informal setting and chat about their concerns.
Victoria was welcomed to McDonald’s by manager Jane Blackwell, who was keen to discuss the opportunities and issues facing businesses in Banbury’s town centre. A number of local residents and voters also came along to discuss the campaign and Victoria’s plans for North Oxfordshire.
Later that afternoon, Victoria popped in to the Banbury Beer and Cider Festival, a popular annual event organised in conjunction with the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). As a long-time supporter of CAMRA and a keen cider brewer, Victoria was delighted to meet a number of people passionate about British beer.
Speaking afterwards, Victoria said: ‘It was great to meet so many people from different walks of life at both McDonald’s and the Beer Festival. What was clear is that we all want to see Banbury and North Oxfordshire flourish. I am really excited to be out on the campaign trail again and I am looking forward to meeting as many local people and businesses as I can.’
On Saturday 22 April, at a special meeting of the North Oxfordshire Conservative Association membership, Victoria Prentis was selected as the Conservative candidate for Banbury in the upcoming General Election.
Speaking after her re-adoption, which was passed unanimously by local Conservative members, Victoria said: “It has been a privilege to represent the people of North Oxfordshire at Westminster for the past two years. I am pleased and proud to have been re-adopted as the Conservative candidate for my hometown and will be working hard to seek re-election on 8 June. Much of my time, particularly the last year, has been spent fighting to save the Horton General Hospital. We have not won yet. I really hope I will have the opportunity to continue this battle as the Member of Parliament after the election. I look forward to getting out and about in the constituency in the coming weeks.
If anyone wants to get in touch with me they can via email@example.com.”
The meeting was chaired by Association President, Barbara Cunningham. Of Victoria’s re-selection, she said: “Victoria has been a superb constituency MP and a passionate advocate for North Oxfordshire. On issues from HS2 to farming needs, broadband, business and of course the Horton General Hospital she has been a vocal champion for the Banbury constituency in Westminster. Her national campaigns like Singing for Syrians and the Great British Spring Clean are making a hugely positive difference in communities both at home and abroad. We look forward to working hard on her election campaign.”
Victoria Prentis, MP for North Oxfordshire, has responded to Theresa May’s plan for a General Election on 8 June.
Commenting on the Prime Minister’s statement, Victoria said, “The Prime Minister’s decision to hold an early election is the right one. It demonstrates that she has been listening to the public and is determined to ensure that she has a strong mandate behind her before our detailed talks with the European Union begin.
“Under the Fixed Term Parliament Act it is not possible to call an early election without the support of the other political parties. Parliament will have the opportunity to vote tomorrow. I look forward to supporting the Prime Minister in the Division lobby and making the most of this one-off chance to provide the country with the stability and certainty it needs as we steer a new course outside the European Union.”
Victoria Prentis, Member of Parliament for North Oxfordshire, has welcomed the success of the Government’s Superfast Broadband programme in her constituency.
Following Government funding of £8.18million in Oxfordshire, current superfast coverage has reached 92.7%, and is estimated to reach 95.0% in North Oxfordshire by December. In addition, a new Broadband Universal Service Obligation will give consumers the right to request fast, affordable broadband wherever they live and work. This will mean that by 2020 everyone can request a connection of at least 10Mbps – around half the speed of superfast, but still quick enough to download a half-hour TV show in two minutes.
Victoria commented “I receive a lot of correspondence from my constituents about the speed of broadband in North Oxfordshire. I recognise that, for many of us, slow broadband can be a major frustration and a strong connection is very important for families and businesses alike. I am therefore very pleased that the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme has made superfast broadband available to over 11,000 homes and businesses in my constituency.”
More information can be found here.
VICTORIA PRENTIS MP SUBMITS PHASE ONE CONSULTATION RESPONSE TO OXFORDSHIRE CLINICAL COMMISSIONING GROUP
Victoria Prentis, Member of Parliament for North Oxfordshire, has submitted her final response to the Transformation Programme Phase One consultation ahead of this Sunday’s deadline. In her lengthy submission, Victoria spoke of her concerns about the consultation process, the content of the proposals and the level of engagement since its launch in January.
Key issues included:
- The format and timing of Phase One of the consultation.
- Flawed statistical analysis and a lack of evidence to support the proposals.
- Travel times and transfer between hospitals.
- Concerns about changes to maternity and obstetric services.
- The impact on other local hospitals.
- Poor engagement and a lack of reliable and consistent information from the CCG.
- Opposition to the proposals from the public, local healthcare providers, and all levels of government.
Calling the consultation “fatally flawed” in her concluding comments, Victoria also made clear that she does not believe the proposed service changes pass the four tests set by NHS England. In her final paragraph she emphasised that “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.”
Speaking after completing her response, Victoria said:
“The past twelve weeks have been an unhappy and confusing time for all of us in North Oxfordshire. This submission is a culmination of my own view of the proposals and, I hope, adequately sums up the thoughts of the hundreds of constituents who have contacted me about the plans. I am particularly grateful to all who helped with my submission, including those who took the time to respond to my various surveys. Given its failings, I still believe this consultation should never have started, or should have been stopped some time ago. Unfortunately, that has not happened. I look forward to hearing how the Clinical Commissioning Group intends to proceed once it has had the opportunity to review all the submissions.”
To read a copy of Victoria’s full submission, click here:
170407 Victoria Prentis MP – Oxon CCG Transformation Programme submission (FINAL)
Alternatively, you can read a summary here:
170407 Victoria Prentis MP – Oxon CCG Transformation Programme submission (SUMMARY)