Horton General Hospital

Hands off Horton CroppedThe Horton General Hospital is a vital and much-loved asset for the residents of Banbury and North Oxfordshire. Victoria was born at the Horton, and she has long been a supporter of retaining the vital services it provides to Banbury and the surrounding area.

On 3 October 2016, contingency plans were put in place by OUHFT to turn the consultant-led maternity department at the Horton into a midwife led unit. The downgrade of the unit came about following the failure of the OUHFT to recruit enough middle-grade obstetric doctors to vacant positions.

In recent months Victoria has met with members of the OUHFT board, patient groups, Horton staff and remains an active member of the cross-party campaign to help retain the hospital’s services. In Parliament, Victoria has been working closely with local MPs and asked a Question to the Prime Minister about the changes to the Horton maternity unit. She made a speech about the Horton during Baby Loss Awareness week and presented a Ten Minute Rule Bill to the House of Commons on the importance of including local people in NHS decisions. The National Health Service Provision (Local Consultation) Bill was a direct response to events over the summer at the hospital, which saw the downgrade of the maternity unit to a midwife-only service with no public consultation.

Following the downgrade of the maternity unit, a number of services at the Horton may be at risk including A&E, Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Anaesthetists.

A public consultation process on the future of NHS services in Oxfordshire has now started. Please click here to find out how to participate.

I am very upset that the Horton General Hospital maternity unit was downgraded to a midwife-led unit on 3 October. While I understand the difficulties in recruiting obstetric doctors, I firmly believe that a solution can be found to ensure obstetric services reopen at the Horton as soon as possible. I will continue to work alongside local MPs, cross-party councillors and campaign groups to ensure our maternity unit, and other vital services, are protected. Banbury needs high quality maternity care at a level that a midwifery-led unit cannot provide.Victoria Prentis MP (27 October 2016)

News from the campaign:

Victoria submits her response to Phase One of the Big Health and Care Consultation.

Victoria 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.

To read the full story and Victoria’s submission click here.

Victoria releases the results of her #Banbury2JR travel survey.

Victoria Prentis and her team have now compiled the responses to her survey on travel times between the Banbury area and Oxford’s hospitals. Victoria received 377 individual completed surveys. The data shows that it takes people, on average, 1 hour and 20 minutes to travel from the Banbury area to an Oxford hospital. It takes, on average, a further 20 minutes to park. The average patient travelling from the Banbury area will therefore enter a hospital in Oxford approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes after leaving their point of departure.

For the full results, click here.


Victoria writes to Simon Stevens, Chief Executive Officer of NHS England, to request Freedom of Information response.

Victoria requests access to consultation document appendices.

Victoria writes to David Smith, Chief Executive of the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, about research taking place in Banbury town centre.

Victoria writes to David Smith, Chief Executive of the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, about the future of ambulance provision at the Horton MLU.

Victoria asks a question to the Prime Minister – 1 March 2017

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

For the full story, click here.

Victoria asks Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group for additional consultation meeting in Bicester

Victoria writes to the Joint Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee (JHOSC) regarding her concerns about Phase One of the Oxfordshire Transformation Programme

Victoria writes to Paul Brennan about the future of the Ramsay Treatment Centre in Banbury – 9 February 2017

Victoria questions the inclusion of maternity in consultation following referral – 8 February 2017

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.

For the full update click here.

Victoria writes to Dr Bruno Holthof about the consultation and the public meeting of 25 August 2016 – 7 February 2017

Victoria and Robert Courts MP welcome the referral of maternity decision to the Secretary of State – 2 February 2017

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.

For the full update click here.

Victoria attends first consultation meeting – 26 January 2017

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.

For the full update click here.

Victoria writes to David Smith regarding engagement with neighbouring counties – 13 January 2017

Horton Maternity Unit update – 3 January 2017

The situation surrounding the Horton General Hospital Maternity Unit was reviewed again over the Christmas period by the Trust. In a report published by the Trust, it states that the current number of obstetric doctors remains at three, and the maximum number of doctors likely to be in post at the Horton by March is five. Five is not considered to be enough to reinstate a consultant-led maternity service at the Horton.

Victoria has been informed that recruitment efforts will continue, with a number of interviews expected in January.

In the period from Monday 3 October to Tuesday 20 December, there have been 44 births at the Horton, and seven transfers of women in labour to the John Radcliffe.

Further information can be found on the Trust’s website.

Following the review, Victoria commented: “While I understand that some appointments have been made it is extremely disappointing that there will not be sufficient doctors in post in time for the full obstetric unit to reopen in March. I will continue to do all that I can to assist the Trust to ensure that normal service can resume as soon as possible at the Horton.”

Victoria meets with Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUHFT) representatives and the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG)

Throughout the week beginning 28 November 2016, Victoria organised and attended a number of meetings with the Trust and the OCCG to discuss the Horton General Hospital.

Community Partnership Network workshop – 28 November 2016

At the last CPN meeting,  it was agreed that a number of Horton-specific workshops would be organised. The first workshop took place on 28 November. Along with Victoria, a number of representatives also attended the meeting including local Councillor Andrew McHugh, Peter Fisher of Keep the Horton General, Diane Hedges of the OCCG, and Trust Board members Paul Brennan, Andrew Stevens and Veronica Miller.

Attendees were updated on the temporary suspension of obstetric services at the Horton General Hospital, and also had the opportunity to discuss proposals for the Oxfordshire Transformation Project. Concerns were raised regarding the consultation process, particularly the decision to split it into two phases. Victoria made clear that it is essential for local people to have a say on the future of their local hospital; by consulting in two parts the process will be diluted and there will be considerable room for confusion. Issues surrounding recruitment and the training status of obstetricians and anaesthetists at the Horton were also raised as a matter of importance.

The next workshop will take place on Friday 9 December.
with-andrew-mchugh-at-cpn-nov-16Victoria with Cllr Andrew McHugh at the CPN meeting

Meeting with Dame Fiona Caldicott, Chair of the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – 29 November 2016

At their meeting at Westminster, Victoria asked Dame Fiona a number of questions about the suspension at the Horton General Hospital. In particular, she raised concerns about recruitment efforts and emphasised the need for greater transparency and communication from the Trust.

Victoria also emphasised that the safety of mothers and babies in the Banbury area and beyond is of paramount importance. She will continue to meet Dame Fiona to ensure that the views of her constituents and those living in the surrounding area, continue to be heard by the Trust.

Oxfordshire MPs meet the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group – 2 December 2016

At the end of the week, some of the Oxfordshire MPs met David Smith (Chief Exec, Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group), Stuart Bell CBE (Chief Executive Officer of Oxford Health & Chairman of the Transformation Project), and Dr Bruno Holthof (Chief Executive of OUHFT). Ed Vaizey MP (Didcot & Wantage), Robert Courts MP (Witney), and John Howell MP (Henley) joined Victoria in discussing the Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP). The MPs raised concerns over the Oxfordshire Transformation Programme, particularly the splitting of the consultation process. Together the MPs stressed that it is vital that the consultation is delivered as effectively and efficiently as possible, ensuring everyone has a say over the future of local health provision.

Victoria now hopes to arrange a further meeting with David Smith and other local MPs to discuss the consultation document, ensuring it is accessible to all of her constituents.


Victoria with Oxfordshire MPs, David Smith and Stuart Bell CBE

Victoria presents her National Health Service Provision (Local Consultation) Bill to the Commons – 25 October 2016


Victoria speaks about the Horton in Commons Baby Loss Awareness debate – 13 October 2016

Victoria asks question to the Prime Minister during Prime Ministers’ Questions – 12 October 2016

During Prime Ministers’ Questions on 12 October 2016, Victoria highlighted the cause of the Horton General Hospital to Theresa May.

Speaking up against the downgrade of Horton maternity services to a midwife-led unit, Victoria asked:

“Does the Prime Minister share my sadness that the majority of Banbury’s babies cannot currently be delivered, as I was, in the Horton General Hospital? Will she join me in using any influence and putting any pressure we can on the Trust to encourage it to recruit the obstetricians we need to reopen our much valued unit?”

The Prime Minister agreed that what matters is a safe maternity service for mother and baby.

Horton Q&A Evening, St Mary’s Church – 25 August 2016

On the evening of Thursday 25 August, several hundred people gathered in St Mary’s Church, Banbury, to pose questions to a panel consisting of representatives of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group. The event was chaired by Rev’d Philip Cochrane, who aimed questions at the panel and sought comments from the Keep The Horton General (KTHG) campaign group and the floor. Members of the public and KTHG made important points and highlighted serious concerns about the recruitment process for obstetricians, the journey time to Oxford and the Trust’s long-term plans for the Horton General Hospital.

Passions were running high, and the panel was in left in no doubt about the strength of local feeling. Many members of the public brought banners and placards, and several mothers and midwives spoke of their own experiences and concerns for the future of maternity services.

The Trust has promised to maintain a dialogue with the people of Banbury, and said it has a duty to take the views of local people into account when making decisions about the hospital’s future.

The event was organised by Banbury Town Council and Victoria Prentis MP.


Members of the public packed into St Mary’s Church, Banbury, to hear Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group answer questions on Thursday 25 August 2016.

Hands Around Our Horton – 21 August 2016

On Sunday 21 August several thousand people gathered to join hands around the perimeter of the Horton in a demonstration of public opposition to the Trust’s plans. The event was jointly organised by Keep The Horton General (KTHG), local elected officials and Victoria Prentis, and was inspired by the successful Horton protest of 2007. The turnout was even higher than had been hoped for, and the enthusiasm of the protesters was apparent to all involved. Some protesters then made their way to Banbury town centre, where a banner was raised on the Town Hall.


Victoria Prentis MP joins Horton protesters in Banbury town centre on Sunday 21 August.


Victoria with members of Banbury’s Rotary Clubs, which provided marshals for the protest outside the Horton on Sunday 21 August.

Maternity Unit protest – 30 July 2016

On Saturday 30 July, Victoria joined Keep the Horton General campaign and users of the hospital’s maternity services at a public protest outside the maternity unit. Several hundred people attended the event.


Victoria joins protesters outside the Horton’s maternity unit on Saturday 30 July 2016.


New and expectant mothers join Victoria, campaigners and local politicians outside the Horton’s maternity unit on Saturday 30 July 2016.