Category Archives: Victoria in Parliament

Victoria Prentis MP uses first Commons speech of the new Parliament to talk about the Horton

On Wednesday 28 June, Victoria Prentis, MP for North Oxfordshire, used her first speech of the new parliament to talk about the Horton General Hospital and patient safety.

During the Health, Social Care and Security debate, Victoria delivered a passionate speech, detailing her support for the draft patient safety Bill and highlighted the need for transparency within the NHS, focusing on positive patient outcomes.

Making reference to a recent visit to the Grange Primary School in Banbury, in which the pupils showed impressive knowledge of the challenges facing the Horton, Victoria told the Chamber of her ongoing concerns regarding the safety of mothers and babies in Banbury following the downgrade of the maternity unit in 2016 and local population growth. She raised important matters relating to the consultation in Oxfordshire, calling again on the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group to halt the Transformation Programme consultation and focus on recruitment.

After the speech, Victoria commented: “Following my re-election, I am committed to ensuring that the Horton General Hospital remains one of the most important issues during my work as the MP for North Oxfordshire.
Local and national health authorities must prioritise patient safety, and I just do not think that is the case, particularly in Banbury. We are building five times more houses in the constituency than the national average, yet the CCG are planning to centralise healthcare in Oxford.

I know the Labour Opposition Leader of Cherwell District Council has called on me to use the current situation in Government to get the Prime Minister to stop any further changes to service provision at the Horton. Of course, health decisions are devolved to local commissioners but the Secretary of State for Health is well aware of our situation, as is the Prime Minister. Last week I attended the CCG’s Board meeting, and met the Chief Executive on Friday and also spoke to the Clinical Director of the Oxford University Hospitals Trust, Paul Brennan, to ensure I was up to date with recruitment, and other challenges facing the Trust.

With the retirement of the CCG Chief Executive David Smith, I will continue to press for the consultation to be halted, and remain committed to ensuring that we retain acute services in Banbury. I have raised all these points again with the Department since returning to Westminster. They can be in no doubt about the challenges we face locally.”

The following account is taken from the official House of Commons Hansard from 28 June 2016:

“It is always difficult to follow such a powerful and passionate speech, but I will do so because I feel just as passionately about what I am going to talk about—the draft patient safety Bill, which I truly believe will do a great deal to assist my constituents and all of us who care about patient safety. I hope that it will embed a new culture of learning lessons in the NHS.

I am deeply concerned about how the NHS is often defensive when something goes wrong. It is not always transparent; the medical profession can be very hierarchical. Believe you me, as a former senior civil servant and Government lawyer, I know about hierarchies—not least from when I worked at the Ministry of Defence. The NHS is much worse than many of the organisations for which I have worked. It is right that we should focus on outcomes, not inputs.

Anybody who has ever met me will know that I talk about the Horton general hospital within about a minute of starting a conversation, but there may be a few new Members who have not yet heard that my hospital, in which I was born, is under threat; I reassure them that in Banbury we talk of little else. I am proud to have been re-elected with an increased vote share to continue the fight for all my constituents. Most of my constituents accepted the Conservative message that to have a strong NHS we must have a strong economy. But however they voted, I will continue to fight to save the Horton on behalf of them all.

Last week, I visited the Grange primary school, where I met seven and eight-year-olds. They had grasped the two main issues: we are worried about the safety of ​poorly babies and about mummies who have to spend up to two hours in the latter stages of labour in their cars going to the John Radcliffe hospital. Those children reminded me of my seven-year-old self: I, too, made a speech in defence of the Horton general hospital in my primary school a few minutes’ drive from where I was last week. It is noticeable that the pupils grasped some of my concerns about patient safety better than some of the members of the clinical commissioning group, whose meeting I also attended last week. The children understood how quickly babies can become high-risk during labour. I have many reasons for losing sleep over the safety of the mothers giving birth in my constituency, and we have significant challenges in the year ahead.

In the minute remaining to me, I shall quickly discuss governance issues. Yesterday, we heard that the chief executive of the CCG would be retiring, as will the clinical lead. I am concerned that the architects of the transformation process will be disappearing halfway through it. I really beg them to stop the consultation process at this point and start again—regroup. Let us listen to patients. We have a problem with recruitment. As I have said before in this place, for want of a nail the shoe was lost. I am concerned that the lack of two obstetricians means that thousands of women in my constituency will be unable to give birth close to home.

In Banbury, Bicester and the villages that I represent, we concentrate on doing the right thing. Our companies adapt to the challenges of Brexit. We are building five times more houses than the national average. We need healthcare that is kind, safe and close to home. The draft patient safety Bill will strengthen our resources to fight for the Horton general hospital, and I really welcome its inclusion in the Gracious Speech.”

Victoria re-selected as Conservative parliamentary candidate for Banbury

170422 VP selection

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”

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 comments on plans for a General Election

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’s Response to the CCG’s Phase One Consultation

OCCG Submission



OCCG Submission

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)


On 20 March, Victoria Prentis MP spoke in the Second Reading debate on the Prisons and Courts Bill. The legislation introduces a range of measures aimed at enhancing prison safety, improving access to justice, and protecting victims and the vulnerable. Victoria’s speech focused on the clauses relating to prisons, given her role on the Justice Committee and their ongoing inquiry into prison reform. She emphasised that the Bill was ‘a note of hope in the fairly dark places that are our prisons’ and found proposals to make prisons places of rehabilitation encouraging.

Turning her attention to specific clauses of the Bill, Victoria welcomed increased autonomy for prison governors; measures to crack down on illegal mobile telephone use, and enhanced powers for prison officers to test for new drugs.

During the course of the debate, Victoria said: “Truthfully, much good work has been done by those in the sector for many years to stop prisons simply warehousing offenders. It is still welcome, however, that the provisions included in clause 1 establish for the first time a much broader statutory purpose. It emphasises reforming and rehabilitating offenders, preparing prisoners for life outside prison, and maintaining an environment that is safe and secure. It is clear and unequivocal in its purpose, and provides a point of focus for all who work in the prison community. The Minister will have noted the considerable pressure from Members on both sides of the House during the course of the debate to incorporate mental health on the face of the Bill.”

Victoria also managed to make some interventions during the debate, one of which focused on the families of offenders. She pointed out that a staggering 63 per cent of children of prisoners grow up to offend and asked the Secretary of State for Justice for reassurances that she will do all that she can to reduce this number. In her response, the Rt Hon Liz Truss MP confirmed that she would protect schemes that create the right culture and atmosphere in prison, and help maintain positive links between imprisoned parents and their children.

Speaking afterwards, Victoria commented: “This is a long overdue piece of legislation that is welcome in both its scope and content. Ensuring our prisons are places of rehabilitation to reduce offending rates is really important. We must also do all that we can to make our prisons safer, particularly given recent disturbances. I look forward to following the Bill’s progress through Parliament, and hope to see its measures implemented soon.”

You can find the full transcript of the debate here. You can find more information about the Prisons and Courts Bill here.


170308 Women in Parliament

Victoria Prentis MP was delighted to join her parliamentary colleagues for a special photo on International Women’s Day to mark the first time the total number of female MPs ever elected has exceeded the number of male MPs currently sitting in the House of Commons.

Victoria commented: ‘I was so pleased to join fellow female MPs to mark this important milestone; seeing so many inspirational women come together on International Women’s Day was a very special moment. My thanks go to Jo Churchill MP for organising the photo in Parliament. I hope that one day we will get the opportunity to mark equal numbers of men and women in the Commons.’


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.”


PMQ 1 March 2017 Cropped (1)

During Prime Minister’s Questions on 1 March 2017, Victoria Prentis, the Member of Parliament for North Oxfordshire, asked the Prime Minister to carry out a review into NHS maternity services to ensure that they are safe, kind and close to home.

Victoria asked: “When I was canvassing in Copeland recently, people there wanted to talk about the future of their local maternity unit; it was just like being at home in Banbury. Rather than politicise the NHS, would the Prime Minister agree to a review of maternity services, encouraging care that is not just safe but kind and close to home?”

In her response, the Prime Minister said: “A professionally led review [into recruitment issues surrounding maternity units] seems very sensible, and I know that the Health Minister is looking into it.”

Many have raised concerns about the safety of maternity services in Oxfordshire, particularly for mothers and babies in and around Banbury. Following the temporary downgrade of maternity at the Horton General Hospital, expectant mothers whose pregnancies are considered high-risk are having to make the long journey into Oxford for their maternity care. The decision temporarily to withdraw consultant-led services was taken following issues with the recruitment of middle-grade obstetric doctors.

After her question, Victoria commented: “Unless mothers are able and willing to deliver in a Midwife Led Unit, those in and around Banbury are having to drive around thirty miles, often in heavy traffic, to reach their nearest obstetric unit. It is simply not acceptable and more needs to be done to recruit the doctors we need.

I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Department for Health and local organisations to ensure that we are working to tackle both national and local recruitment issues.”


Consultation meeting 26 Jan 17 Cropped

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 (Banbury) (Con): “What steps the Government are taking to support the self-employed.”

The Minister for Employment (Damian Hinds): “We are building on the success of the new enterprise allowance. From April 2017, eligibility will be extended to include universal credit claimants who are already self-employed.”

Victoria Prentis: “There are 40 new businesses in Banbury currently supported by the new enterprise allowance, with about 100 more going through the developmental stage. Can the Minister reassure us that the programme is not just there to set up new businesses, but to enable them to grow?”

Damian Hinds: “Absolutely. The 40 new businesses in Banbury are a great example of what the NEA can do. In phase 2, we are introducing additional features to continue to promote sustained success in self-employment, including extending the mentoring period and ensuring there is a pre-workshop to outline the responsibilities and realities of being self-employed.”

The above account has been taken from the office House of Commons Hansard for 20 February 2017. 

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