Category Archives: Victoria in North Oxfordshire

BICESTER HOSTS CONSULTATION EVENT

Bicester Community Hospital Cropped

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//.

MPs RELEASE STATEMENT ON OXFORDSHIRE DEVOLUTION PLANS

Victoria Prentis MP (North Oxfordshire), John Howell MP (Henley), Robert Courts MP (Witney) and the Rt Hon Andrew Smith MP (Oxford East) have released a joint statement following recent speculation about devolution plans for the county.

Together they said, “We have seen that South Oxfordshire and the Vale of the White Horse are now backing a bid for a county-based unitary authority.  We have also seen that this is opposed by Cherwell District Council, Oxford City Council, and West Oxfordshire District Council.  So this is not a unified bid across the whole county, does not have the support of the majority of the county’s MPs, and fails the criteria for consensus which the Department of Communities and Local Government are working to.

We recognise that over recent weeks there has been a lot of speculation about the future arrangement of local government across the county. We are committed to the accountability and efficiency of local government.  But there are some red lines we would like to draw.  It is essential that the distinct identities of the different areas in Oxfordshire are respected, with council arrangements which are sufficiently close and meaningful that they are in touch with and accountable to local residents and their needs.  This is an important issue for everyone. It is not something that can or should be rushed. Our priority is to find the best arrangement for all our constituents.”

MP QUESTIONS INCLUSION OF MATERNITY IN CONSULTATION FOLLOWING REFERRAL

Since the vote to refer Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s (OUHFT) decision to suspend obstetrics at the Horton General Hospital to the Secretary of State for Health, Victoria Prentis MP has been pushing to have proposals for the Horton maternity unit removed from phase one of the ongoing consultation.

The first phase of the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s (OCCG) consultation began on 16 January 2017, and includes discussions surrounding critical care, planned care and maternity services at the Horton, alongside proposals for acute stroke services and changes to hospital beds across Oxfordshire.

Victoria firmly believes that consulting in two phases will prevent members of the public from seeing the full picture surrounding services at the Horton, particularly in relation to maternity and the future of the Midwife Led Unit in Banbury.

Having attended the first consultation event in Banbury, Victoria joined Witney MP, Robert Courts, at the Chipping Norton consultation meeting on 2 February. During the event, Chipping Norton’s residents emphasised their reliance on services at the Horton, with several commenting that Oxford was too far away from many of West Oxfordshire’s remote rural communities. Victoria, Robert and members of the public also raised their concerns about the split consultation process, reminding the panel that health services across the north of Oxfordshire are integrally linked.

On Friday 3 February, Victoria attended a Community and Partnership Network (CPN) meeting, joined by members of the OCCG and OUHFT. During the meeting she made reference to the referral of the decision to downgrade the Horton’s maternity unit, and argued that it should be removed from phase one of the consultation, pending a decision by the Secretary of State for Health.

At the CPN meeting, Victoria said “It is almost impossible for the people of North Oxfordshire and beyond to express their views on what is being proposed in Phase One when we have absolutely no idea how decisions in Phase One will affect Phase Two of the consultation. Now that OUHFT’s decision to downgrade the maternity unit at the Horton has been referred to the Secretary of State, it would make much more sense to hold off on making any further decisions about its future.”

MP ENCOURAGES COMMUNITIES TO GET BEHIND “THE GREAT BRITISH SPRING CLEAN”

Victoria Prentis and Allison Ogden-Newton Cropped

Local MP, Victoria Prentis, organised the campaign’s Parliamentary launch and is calling on schools, businesses and community groups to get outdoors, get active and help clear up North Oxfordshire.

“The Great British Spring Clean” follows on from last year’s very successful “Clean for The Queen” campaign and brings together many of the anti-litter organisations in the UK. Costa Coffee, McDonald’s and LIDL are just a few of the companies also supporting the initiative.

Community groups including parish councils, residents’ associations, Girl Guides and brownies and Scout and Cub troops are encouraged to organise their own litter pick or event in the coming weeks or over the campaign’s big clean weekend over 3-5 March.

Victoria said, “Since coordinating the Parliamentary campaign for Clean for The Queen last year, litter has become something of an obsession. I was therefore really keen to help Keep Britain Tidy with this year’s initiative “The Great British Spring Clean”. We should do all we can to encourage people to go out and clean up their communities. The initiative also provides a useful opportunity to raise awareness of the problems litter causes. I am really hoping people in North Oxfordshire will get behind the campaign and was delighted to see so many of my colleagues at the launch. If you are planning your own event locally, please do get in touch. You can also register a clean-up on the campaign’s website where there are also a lot of useful downloadable resources.

Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive, Allison Ogden-Newton, commented, “It was fantastic to see Victoria support our campaign. The Great British Spring Clean is about getting all Britons who care about their environment to take action and I’m looking forward to seeing lots of people out and about, contributing to cleaning up their communities on 3rd 4th and 5th of March.”

Victoria Prentis (2)

Victoria at the Parliamentary launch of “The Great British Spring Clean” on 31 January 2017.

MPS WELCOME MATERNITY SERVICE REFERRAL

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On Thursday 2 February, Victoria Prentis MP and Witney MP Robert Courts welcomed the Joint Health & Overview Scrutiny Committee’s unanimous vote to refer the Oxford University NHS Foundation Trust’s (OUHFT) decision to suspend obstetric services at the Horton General Hospital to the Secretary of State for Health.

In a discussion over the management of pressures under urgent care, Cllr Kieron Mallon (Bloxham & Easington Division), Eddie Reeves (Conservative candidate for Calthorpe Division) and Ian Davies, Director of Operational Delivery at Cherwell District Council, had the opportunity to address the Committee, and put on record their concerns about the way in which the decision to suspend obstetric services at the Horton had been taken by the OUHFT last August. They put particular emphasis on the detrimental impact it has had on patient safety and choice in North Oxfordshire and beyond.

Following the representations, Committee member and County Councillor Arash Fatemian (Deddington Division) introduced a motion calling for the suspension to be referred to the Secretary of State for Health given that there is now no prospect of the full service resuming in March. The motion subsequently went to a vote, and the Committee agreed unanimously to refer the suspension to the Secretary of State.

Speaking after the vote, Victoria Prentis MP said: “I am absolutely delighted that the Health & Overview Scrutiny Committee has referred the ongoing suspension of obstetric services at the Horton to the Secretary of State. Ever since the Trust Board’s decision in August last year, I have been trying my best to get HOSC to refer the decision. At their meetings in September and November, they indicated that they did not feel it necessary to do so, given the Trust’s assurances that the service would resume in March. As that has become increasingly unlikely, the people of North Oxfordshire have been faced with a change in service on which they had absolutely no say. It was essential that HOSC referred this decision to the Secretary of State.

“HOSC’s decision is a major breakthrough for all of us who have been campaigning hard against the downgrade. The cross party nature of this campaign is apparent in the unanimity shown.

“It will be interesting to see how the decision to refer will impact the Oxfordshire Transformation Programme split consultation exercise which is ongoing, and about which I continue to have grave concerns. The fight continues, but I am confident that the Secretary of State will take this issue very seriously.

Robert Courts MP said: “The ramifications of the suspension of obstetric services at the Horton go far beyond the residents of Banbury.  

“My constituents in West Oxfordshire would face horrendous travel times if this important service were to close.  If expectant mothers have to travel to Oxford or further for treatment I would be seriously concerned about the impact on their health.

“The decision by the HOSC to refer this to the Secretary of State is absolutely right.  This matter needs more scrutiny and consultation and should never have been so light.

“I continue to have major concerns about the split consultation taking place on Oxfordshire’s Transformation Plan.  The decision will surely impact this consultation.  I am ready to fight to ensure that this is matter is fully considered by the Secretary of State and I eagerly await his decision.

“As the wider consultation process continues, I will ensure that constituents’ concerns are heard and responded to.”

Cllr Arash Fatemian said: “I was pleased to have the opportunity to table this important motion at the meeting. It was the right time and the right decision was made. My thanks to the Committee for their cross-party and unanimous support.

MP SAYS SHE WILL VOTE TO TRIGGER ARTICLE 50

Victoria Prentis, Member of Parliament for North Oxfordshire, has said that she will support the ‘Withdrawal from the European Union (Article 50) Bill 2016-17’ and vote to trigger Article 50 tonight.

While I voted Remain at the referendum, I think it is important that we now respect both electorate’s vote and the Supreme Court’s ruling. My constituency voted to leave the EU, with an above average turnout at 75.7 per cent. In the nation as a whole, 1,269,501 more people voted to leave than voted to remain. Even if a small minority of those who voted to leave regret doing so now – and I have seen little evidence of this locally – we cannot ignore the wishes of the majority. Moreover, I believe in our democracy, and not just when it accords with my own views. Brexit will happen, and I will vote today in support of Article 50.

Once the Prime Minister has invoked Article 50, we will begin our formal negotiations to leave the European Union. Nobody should believe that the negotiation process will be brief or straightforward – I certainly don’t. It is going to require significant expertise and a consistent approach. Regaining more control of the number of people who come here from Europe, while also allowing British companies to trade with the single market in goods and services, must be a priority. The ability to trade with EU member states is also vital to our prosperity. The Prime Minister made this clear in her recent speech at Lancaster House, during which she outlined twelve objectives that will guide the Government through the negotiations. A white paper will also be published shortly, which I will look at closely. It is essential that we get the best deal possible, and make the most of this opportunity. We must get it right.

Some of my constituents have raised their concerns about the advisory nature of last June’s referendum. While the vote was, legally-speaking, advisory, the Government made it very clear before 23 June that it would respect the result. The leaders of both campaigns also made this point. On 25 February 2016, the former Foreign Secretary (now Chancellor of the Exchequer) stated to the House of Commons:

“Leave means leave, and a vote to leave will trigger a notice under Article 50. To do otherwise in the event of a vote to leave would represent a complete disregard of the will of the people. No individual, no matter how charismatic or prominent, has the right or the power to redefine unilaterally the meaning of the question on the ballot paper. The Government’s position is that the referendum is an advisory one, but the Government will regard themselves as being bound by the decision of the referendum and will proceed with serving an Article 50 notice.”

I know that a significant minority of my constituents will find my stance disappointing. There will be a great deal of debating in the next few weeks, so if you have any specific points you would like me to make, do let me know by email and I will pass them on to the Government for their consideration.

Victoria Prentis MP (1 February 2017)

VICTORIA PRENTIS INVITED TO PRESENT BANBURY SWIMMING CLUB AWARDS

Banbury Swimming Club- 27 Jan 2017 Cropped

On Friday 27 January 2017, North Oxfordshire MP, Victoria Prentis was invited to present prizes to members of Banbury Swimming Club.

Throughout the year, the children of the club have been working hard to improve their swimming times, culminating in four club championship events at the Spiceball Leisure Centre at the end of last year. Prizes from the Club Championships were given for different strokes and distances achieved by the members of the club.

During the evening, which was held at the General Foods Sports and Social Club, Victoria also had the opportunity to thank the volunteers, parents and coaches of the club, for all of their hard work ensuring the club remains open for its many keen swimmers.

Following the award ceremony, Victoria commented: “I was honoured to be invited to present the club’s prizes, not least because I learnt to swim in Banbury, like many of the clubs members. Sport is an integral part of our community, and the opportunity to learn to swim is particularly important for young people. I was delighted to present awards to swimmers for their excellent achievements, and wish them all the best in the coming year.”

Club Chair, Ian Walkden said: “Parents and swimmers really enjoyed the evening. It’s a great encouragement to all young swimmers and volunteers to receive recognition for their dedication throughout the year. It was great that Victoria could spend some time with us acknowledging their acheivements”

For further information on how to get involved with Banbury Swimming Club, including opportunities to learn to swim, please visit www.banburyswim.co.uk.

VICTORIA PRENTIS ATTENDS FIRST CONSULTATION MEETING

Consultation meeting 26 Jan 17 Cropped

On Thursday 26 January, Victoria Prentis, MP for North Oxfordshire, attended the first of twelve public consultation meetings, organised by the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG).

On 16 January 2017, the OCCG launched the first phase of the Oxfordshire Transformation Programme, ‘The Big Health and Care Consultation’. As part of the process, a number of public meetings are being organised across Oxfordshire.

Held in St Mary’s Church Banbury, Thursday’s meeting was attended by nearly 500 people from Banbury and its surrounding areas. The meeting took the format of a presentation of the proposals by panellists, including representatives from the OCCG and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUHFT), followed by questions from the public to the panel.

At the start of the questions, Victoria stood up to express her concerns about the splitting of the consultation, as well as the distance from the Banbury area to the hospitals in Oxford. Questions from the public included queries about training rotation at the Horton, parking at the John Radcliffe (JR), stroke care, the future of the Horton maternity unit, and the transparency of the consultation process.

Following the meeting, Victoria commented: “While I have concerns about the consultation process, it is vital that my constituents have a proper say over the future of services at the Horton General Hospital. Thursday’s meeting was well-mannered, but showed how much public support there is for the Horton. The meeting was particularly short on detail, and I do not feel that we were given sufficient evidence. The process does not provide a holistic approach to the issues we face in Banbury, or enough information for the public to make an informed decision.”

To view the consultation documents, please visit www.oxonhealthcaretransformation.nhs.uk/.

Upcoming local consultation meetings:

Thursday 2 February- 2-4pm (Chipping Norton, venue to be confirmed)

Tuesday 21 February- 3-5pm (Weyland Hall, Bicester)

Monday 27 February- 10.30am-12.30pm (Brackley, venue to be confirmed)

Thursday 16 March- 7-9pm (Banbury, venue to be confirmed)

To apply for your free ticket to a meeting, email cscsu.talkinghealth@nhs.net, with your preferred event, full name, and contact number.

VICTORIA PRENTIS MP’S STATEMENT ON OXFORDSHIRE HEALTHCARE TRANSFORMATION PROGRAMME CONSULTATION

On 16 January, the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group published the first part of its Transformation Programme. Despite serious concerns about the process and content of the consultation document, Victoria Prentis MP is encouraging all those affected by changes to Oxfordshire’s healthcare services to engage as best they can.

Victoria commented: “I am extremely disappointed that the Clinical Commissioning Group has decided to proceed with the Phase One consultation. I have made it very clear that I do not support splitting the Transformation Programme into two parts. I am very concerned that launching the first part of the consultation today (16 January) will mean that the final fortnight will overlap with local election purdah, when there are strict restrictions on public engagement. The CCG are well aware of my concerns, as are the Chief Executives from the other local health authorities and the County Council’s Health & Overview Scrutiny Committee. Unfortunately, nothing has been done that provides me with any reassurance.

“Having had sight of a draft version of the consultation document, I am genuinely worried that the public will not be able to understand what it is they are being consulted on. I don’t understand myself. It is almost impossible for the people of North Oxfordshire and beyond to express their views on what is being proposed in Phase One when we have absolutely no idea what will be proposed in Phase Two, or what impact our responses in the first part will have on the second part. For example, we simply cannot judge whether the suggested changes to acute stroke care in the Horton are good news when we have no idea what role Bicester Community Hospital will have in the future. Similarly, moving dialysis and chemotherapy services to the Horton – as suggested in Phase One – may well be a positive step, but not if it jeopardises our A&E and paediatric services on which we will be consulted in Phase Two. Obstetric maternity services will be consulted on in Phase One, however further consultation on the future of Midwife Led Units (MLUs) including whether we can maintain a unit both in Banbury and Chipping Norton will make up part of Phase Two. In my view, this complicates the issues we face regarding maternity services in the north of the county. It is simply wrong that we are not getting the full picture.

“I am absolutely committed to helping my constituents understand the consultation document and have set up a dedicated page on my website. I intend to have a list of “Frequently Asked Questions” to answer any queries people may have about the changes put forward. The CCG will be holding two public events in Banbury on 26 January and 2 March. While I understand the format of these meetings is yet to be finalised I hope that everyone who wishes to can attend. It is essential that we present a united front and try our absolute best to engage in this consultation, despite its shortcomings. I will do all that I can to ensure that this can be done.”

The first part of the consultation on the Oxfordshire Healthcare Transformation Programme can be seen here.

MP ENCOURAGES CONSTITUENTS TO TAKE PART IN JOHN RADCLIFFE JOURNEY TIMES CAMPAIGN

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Victoria Prentis, Member of Parliament for North Oxfordshire, is encouraging her constituents to take part in her campaign, collecting information on journey times to the John Radcliffe Hospital (JR) in Oxford.

The idea follows a meeting with the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG), where journey times were discussed. Victoria stated in the meeting that door-to-department journey times, including the time it takes to park, must be included in statistics showing travel times to the JR.

With the downgrade of the Horton maternity unit in October 2016, Victoria is keen to ensure that the Oxfordshire University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and OCCG are aware of the genuine impact of travel times between Banbury and the JR.

A consultation on healthcare provision in Oxfordshire, including services at the Horton General Hospital, is expected to begin this month. Statistics on travel times are expected to be an important part of the consultation process.

The campaign is open to anyone travelling from Banbury and its surrounding areas to the JR for an appointment, or to visit a relative. It will involve filling out a short form about a journey to the JR, and sending it or emailing it to Victoria’s constituency office. She and her staff will then collate the responses to submit to the OCCG.

In encouraging constituents to take part in the campaign, Victoria commented: “Following the downgrade of the Horton maternity unit, I remain extremely concerned about travel times to the John Radcliffe. The journey can be so unpredictable and parking times must be taken into account. These variables need to be considered ahead of the consultation on NHS services in Oxfordshire. It would be brilliant if as many people as possible get involved in the campaign to give us a good indication of true journey times from Banbury.”

If you are travelling to the JR from the Banbury area, please cut out the form, fill it in, and send it to Victoria.prentis.mp@parliament.uk or by post to:

Victoria Prentis MP, Heyford Park House, Upper Heyford, Bicester, OX25 5HD.

An online survey can be found here https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/HQ55BQB, or if you would like an electronic version of the form, email a request to victoria.prentis.mp@parliament.uk.

Please post your photos of you leaving and arriving on social media, with your travel time to the JR, using the hashtag #Banbury2JR.

Form to record journey times

Form to record journey times

Click this link to download the form: form-for-banbury2jr-final

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