VICTORIA PRENTIS SPEAKS IN OXFORDSHIRE HEALTHCARE DEBATE

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On Tuesday 17 October, Victoria Prentis and a number of other Oxfordshire MPs joined together in a Westminster Hall debate called by Witney MP, Robert Courts, to discuss the future of healthcare in Oxfordshire.

Opening the session, Robert Courts raised concerns about GP and maternity services, stroke care and the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s recent consultation. His points were echoed by neighbouring MPs, including Ed Vaizey (Wantage), Layla Moran (Oxford West and Abingdon), John Howell (Henley) and Nadhim Zahawi (Stratford on Avon) . Victoria highlighted issues relating to population growth, safety and communication. Within this, she emphasised problems with the processes followed by health chiefs in the County, particularly in relation to the split nature of the consultation and a lack of real engagement with local people. Towards the end of her speech, Victoria outlined the need for “reasoned and evidence based conversations about the future”, expressing the determination felt locally to protect vital acute services in North Oxfordshire.

After the debate, Victoria commented: “I am very pleased that my neighbour and fellow local MP, Rob Courts, secured such an important debate in Westminster this morning. It is clear that we are united in our frustration with local health providers.The Clinical Commissioning Group must engage and consult local people properly, and across county boundaries, to enable us to move forward safely. The fight for acute services and local health care continues.”

 

The below account is taken from the Official Report from Tuesday 17 October 2017

 

Victoria Prentis (Banbury, Con): It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir Roger. I made my first speech about the Horton General Hospital when I was seven. I apologise that many people in this Chamber will have heard it before, but I do not know that you have had that pleasure, so with your permission, I will carry on.

Let us remember what we are talking about. The Horton is not a community hospital. It has been a pleasure to listen to colleagues talk about their community hospitals; we have heard about Wantage and Abingdon, and one rarely meets my hon. Friend the Member for Henley (John Howell) without hearing him mention the Townlands, of which he is very proud. I love community hospitals too; my mother helped run Brackley Cottage Hospital for most of my childhood and until recently, and I think that the marvellous hospital in Bicester still has untapped potential. However, the Horton General Hospital, which I will talk about, is quite different.

The Horton has hundreds of beds and treats about 39,000 people in accident and emergency every year—nearly one third of Oxfordshire’s A&E attendances. What happens at the Horton affects all my colleagues, due to the knock-on effects of closure. Our surgeons are among the top five in the UK for neck and femur operations. It is not a community hospital; it is a fully functioning, very busy district general.

We feel beleaguered. For more than 40 years, the John Radcliffe Hospital has viewed us as a smaller and less academic sibling that can be treated with contempt when staffing is short. In 2008—this is not ancient history; it is nine years ago—the Independent Reconfiguration Panel was asked to consider the last proposed downgrade of paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology and the special care baby unit. It conducted, as I hope it will again, a full five-month review and made five excellent recommendations, which I will read once more.

The first recommendation was:

“The IRP considers that the Horton Hospital has an important role for the future in providing local hospital-based care to people in the north of Oxfordshire and surrounding areas. However, it will need to change to ensure its services remain appropriate, safe and sustainable.”

On the proposed downgrades, it said:

“The IRP does not consider that they will provide an accessible or improved service to the people of north Oxfordshire and surrounding areas.”

Other recommendations were:

“The PCT should carry out further work with the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust to set out the arrangements and investment necessary to retain and develop services at the Horton Hospital. Patients, the public and other stakeholders should be fully involved in this work… The PCT must develop a clear vision for children’s and maternity services within an explicit strategy for services for north Oxfordshire as a whole… The ORH must do more to develop clinically integrated practice across the Horton, John Radcliffe and Churchill sites as well as developing wider clinical networks with other hospitals, primary care and the independent sector.”

I am afraid that none of that happened. The recommendations were made nine years ago, but none of them were followed. The only things that changed were that the traffic got worse and the population of the area grew. Our district council, I am proud to say, tops the leader board for house building.

Less than 10 years later, we now have no obstetrics or SCBU. They went in the blink of an eye, without any real attempt to address recruitment issues or work with us to do so, although we offered and offered. Locally, we remain deeply unhappy and frightened. Patients in the later stages of labour are travelling for up to two hours, and emergency gynaecological operations take place in a portakabin in the Radcliffe car park. We have heard stories locally—in fact, they are all people talk about—of babies born in lay-bys and in the back of ambulances. The data that show statistics of complete births—defined by when the placenta has been delivered—tell a different story; they do not register the reality of people’s experience.

I pay tribute to what my hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Robert Courts) said about Google Maps. Locally, the impression is that the CCG and the trust massage the figures and use them when it suits their argument. I conducted a travel survey of nearly 400 people on their real-life experiences of how long it takes to get from our area to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. Sadly, those data were not taken on board in any of the CCG’s reports, although the data set was bigger and better than the CCG’s. The CCG provided real data only when we had harangued, pestered and begged it to do so.

I will not go on about how worried I am; I will focus on what we can do to put the situation right. It is true, as all hon. Members have said, that local health providers do not talk to one another. Health Education England’s decision to remove training accreditation for middle-grade obstetricians was the straw that broke the camel’s back for recruitment, yet it remains aloof and makes decisions in a vacuum. Its recent decision to remove accreditation from certain grades of anaesthetists puts all the acute services provided by the Horton at risk. The dean did not communicate that decision to decision makers at the trust or the CCG; I had to tell them at a meeting in August. I do not think that that is an acceptable way to run a healthcare system.

The trust usually tells the CCG what to do. When it does not agree, there is stalemate. The trust, the clinicians and everyone else locally know that the A&E at the Horton cannot possibly be shut, because the knock-on effects on the rest of Oxfordshire and the surrounding counties would be catastrophic. The CCG, however, is determined to press ahead with its consultation that suggests otherwise. Owing to this impasse, we have ended up with a split consultation that means nothing to any of us. Patients’ needs appear to be an afterthought. South Central Ambulance Service, which bears the brunt of the transfers, is carried along as a consultee with no voice at the table when decisions are taken.

One of the main complaints is that local health decision makers do not listen to us. Our latest consultation report described the “universal concerns” of more than 10,000 people from my area who responded to our consultation. I cannot overemphasise the strength of local feeling. We all feel the same: all the elected representatives, of whatever party; a great campaigning group, Keep the Horton General; and even the local churches, which are praying for sense in the clinical commissioning group’s decision making. [Interruption.] My right hon. Friend the Member for Wantage (Mr Vaizey) laughs, but I am afraid it is impossible to overstate how essential our local hospital is to people in our area. He may think it is funny, but we do not.

Mr Vaizey (Wantage, Con): For the record, I am laughing because I have never heard of a church praying for sense from a clinical commissioning group. That highlights the parlous state that we find ourselves in.

Victoria Prentis (Banbury, Con): Quite.

At our last meeting, the trust’s chief executive told me that my fears about the Horton were “irrational”, but those fears are shared by the IRP—at least they were nine years ago, and I hope they still are—and by about 170,000 people who are served by the Horton. Rather than try to answer my questions, the chief executive simply dismissed them. I do not think that that is an acceptable way to behave.

We still do not know whether a father can transfer with a labouring mother from the midwife-led unit at the Horton. If not, how on earth is he supposed to get to north Oxford while she gives birth? We still do not know—although I have asked more often than I care to remember—whether the static ambulance will be stationed permanently at the Horton while all this is sorted out. As we have heard from all hon. Members, the CCG and the trust do not communicate with us elected representatives or with the general public, and often not even with each other. It has been left to me to organise public meetings locally. NHS Improvement was absolutely appalled when I showed it the pile of unanswered letters that I had written to the CCG and the trust. Hon. Members beyond the county boundary whose constituents use the Horton are completely overlooked.

Local health services may well be devolved to commissioners and providers, but if this is devolution, Minister, it is not working. The chief executive and the clinical lead of the CCG are leaving before the end of the year. I cannot pretend that I am unhappy about that—I have hardly been uncritical of how the CCG runs its affairs—but I have to say that I am not optimistic that the necessary changes will be made. The new clinical lead, whose appointment was announced yesterday, will be the former maternity lead. Although I will work with her, and I hope very much that she will engage with the issues we face, I am not optimistic. The CCG is hellbent on continuing the split consultation, despite various judicial reviews—I can tell it that there will be more to come, if necessary—and three referrals to the IRP, which presumably will not have changed its mind since nine years ago, particularly given the unprecedented growth in the town. Whoever takes on the CCG job is inheriting a poisoned chalice.

I am not going to give up, and nor are the constituents I represent. After all, I do not think that Banbury elected a bereaved mother with a passion for maternal safety, 20 years’ experience of judicial review and a 15-year background of voluntary work for the trust by accident. In 2008, local GPs were pivotal in the fight to save the Horton, but this time, poor leadership and an ever increasing workload—particularly given the town’s growth—have prevented them from being the vocal force that they once were. However, I have found allies in NHS Improvement, which has been investigating the trust, and in the Care Quality Commission, which can prosecute. I look forward to working further with those allies.

If help with recruitment is the answer, we need the Department to step in. Salary supplements for trainee GPs are really welcome, not just for rural or coastal areas but for market towns that face unprecedented growth. The catchment is predicted to increase from 170,000 to 207,000. We really need obstetricians. The district council has made sensible suggestions for developing and improving the Horton site; I just wish the CCG and the trust would look at them. They were included in the response to the consultation—I also made a very extensive response—but when I mentioned them at the last meeting in August, none of this had registered with the decision makers. I do wonder about the depth and quality of the work they do.

I know that the Horton has a future as a provider of acute services. I am sorry to use the language of war, but I welcome the sight of my hon. Friend the Member for Witney defending my right flank, as he so often does. Ever since he was elected, he has been a real ally and friend in this fight. We in Banbury are most grateful to him for all his work and for securing this debate. I also welcome the support of my right hon. Friend the Member for South Northamptonshire (Andrea Leadsom) and my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kenilworth and Southam (Jeremy Wright), who are both in Cabinet this morning but will be interested in this debate. They both feel as we do about our hospital in Banbury. My hon. Friend the Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Nadhim Zahawi) was present earlier; his district council has been a great ally, has brought one of the judicial reviews, and continues to support us—even though, as far as I can tell, it is not consulted about anything by the Oxfordshire CCG. I really feel that we are beleaguered, so it is lovely to see hon. Members appearing like battalions, with patients and GPs in their wake, to support all of us who use the Horton General Hospital.

We are not irrational, but we are passionate. We want a reasoned and evidence-based conversation about the future. We are very, very determined, so I am afraid everyone in this Chamber will have to listen to this speech many, many more times.

LOCAL SCHOOLCHILDREN ENJOY ROYAL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY WORKSHOP AT BROUGHTON CASTLE

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On Friday 13 October, Victoria Prentis MP was joined by ninety schoolchildren from across North Oxfordshire for a Shakespeare Workshop led by actors and directors from the Royal Shakespeare Company. The workshop, funded by Cherwell District Council, was hosted at Broughton Castle, an historic and atmospheric venue that helped scenes from this year’s featured play, Julius Caesar, come to life.

The children were taken through a number of extracts from the play, with the RSC explaining the choices they made when interpreting the text. There was the opportunity to get stuck in to some acting in smaller breakout groups, before all coming back together at the end to go through what they had learnt.

Speaking after the event, Victoria said: ‘This is the second year I have worked with the RSC to bring Shakespeare to the children of North Oxfordshire, and it is fast becoming an annual fixture. The actors and directors are so brilliant at bringing the characters and storylines to life, and it was fantastic to see every child fully immersed in the work of Shakespeare.

I am very grateful to the Fiennes family for hosting us at Broughton Castle again. It is an amazing venue, and I can’t think of a better place to hold an event like this. The generous support from Cherwell District Council is also very much appreciated.’

NEIGHBOURING MPS SHOW SUPPORT FOR BABY LOSS AWARENESS

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With Baby Loss Awareness Week underway, MPs showed their support for the campaign during the second annual Baby Loss Awareness debate in the House of Commons.  

Throughout the week, bereaved parents, their families and friends unite to commemorate their babies’ lives. The movement also provides a chance to raise awareness about the issues surrounding pregnancy and baby loss in the UK. This year the focus has been on improving bereavement support for affected families.

Following on from the recent launch of a new bereavement counselling service at the Horton General Hospital in Banbury, Victoria Prentis, MP for North Oxfordshire and West Oxfordshire MP, Robert Courts, joined together to raise concerns about the safety of mothers and babies in Oxfordshire; a particularly poignant issue given the downgrade of the Banbury’s maternity services and concerns about the future of Chipping Norton’s midwife-led unit.

Alongside this, both highlighted the need to provide support for affected parents, welcoming the Government’s bereavement care pathway and work of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Baby Loss.

Victoria commented: “It was an honour to speak in the debate alongside my colleagues. It was particularly encouraging to be joined by my neighbour, Robert Courts to highlight the concerns we have locally. Baby loss is heart breaking and we must do all we can to support parents and their families, focusing on prevention, restorative solutions and bereavement pathways.”

Robert Courts also said: “I was proud to speak in this debate on this all-important topic. As the issue of maternity services has been the source of much controversy in Oxfordshire, I want to draw attention to the issue of baby loss to highlight how essential it is to support parents at this devastating time.  It is a sad fact that many of the these deaths are avoidable and the UK’s rate of still births is behind many European countries, and much more can be done to prevent baby loss and to help bereaving parents.”

CCG RETHINKING SPLIT HEALTHCARE CONSULTATION

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On Tuesday 26 September, Victoria Prentis, Member of Parliament for North Oxfordshire, attended a Community Partnership Network (CPN) meeting at Bodicote House in Banbury.

CPN is a Better Health Care programme for Banbury and its surrounding area, and draws together key stakeholders from the Cherwell region to discuss matters relating to health provision, ranging from GP services to the closure of beds.

In January 2017, the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) put forward their proposals for the future of health in Oxfordshire in their Big Health and Care consultation. A decision was taken to split the consultation into two phases, with Phase One being delivered this year and Phase Two following in 2018. It was argued by many that the issues across both phases were interconnected and members of the public could not make an informed decision without knowing the whole picture.

Banbury’s MP has continually pushed for the consultation to be halted until both phases can be delivered together, particularly with a referral to the Secretary of State and Judicial Review of the process on the table. In today’s meeting, Victoria asked whether the CCG would consider stopping the implementation of Phase 1 and rolling it into Phase 2 of the Transformation Programme. In response, Dr Walsh, the Clinical Development Lead for the Oxfordshire Transformation Programme, replied stating that he would take it back to the CCG board for consideration and understands the strength of feeling in North Oxfordshire.

Following the meeting, Victoria commented: “It is certainly a glimmer of hope that the CCG are finally listening to my requests and will be rethinking their plans for the consultation process. Without a clear vision of the future of health services and proper thought-out proposals, it is impossible for my constituents to put forward their views about the plans. The CCG are facing a referral to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) regarding permanent changes to maternity services in Banbury, and the Council have put forward a judicial review against the consultation process. I really hope that the CCG listen to our concerns, take a step back and re-evaluate the split nature of the consultation.”

VICTORIA PRENTIS OPENS NEW EXPORT WAREHOUSE

On Friday 22 September, Victoria Prentis MP opened Cleenol Group Ltd’s new Export Warehouse.

Cleenol Group Ltd manufactures an extensive range of quality cleaning & hygiene products for professionals.  In addition to supplying customers throughout UK they export to over 40 countries.  These include   EU member states, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.  Export sales grew by nearly 20% last year and now represent over 12% of the company’s turnover.  To manage this increase Cleenol have invested in a new 12,500 sq ft export warehouse, adjoining its other 3 warehouses on the Tramway Industrial Estate.

Managing Director Richard Greaves said: “We have been exporting for over 25 years.  Our customers recognize the quality of the products we manufacture and the service we provide.  Since Brexxit the fall in the value of the pound has made our products even more attractive and we have seen significant sales growth as a result.  Our export markets recognize and respect the value they get from British manufactured products.  They provide them with quality and consistency of performance, and cost in use savings.  Many are now looking to be environmentally responsible, and our products and systems help them achieve this.  We anticipate further export growth in the coming years and have invested accordingly. “

Victoria Prentis MP commented: “I was delighted to be asked to open Cleenol Group Ltd’s new Export Warehouse and visit their manufacturing plant. They are one of the largest employers in Banbury, and it is great to see a local company doing so well  and continuing to provide jobs for people in the Banbury area. It was particularly interesting to meet Richard and discuss plans for the future, I am sure that the new warehouse will play a big part.”

Cleenol has been manufacturing cleaning and hygiene products for industry for over 65 years.  It has been in Banbury for over 40 years.  The company now employs over 120 people, holding both the ISO9001 quality and ISO14001 environmental accreditations.

They are market leaders in the manufacture of environmentally friendly concentrated products and dispensing systems for industry and an extensive range of cleaning products for a large range of applications.  These include products for industrial laundries, dishwashing chemicals for restaurants and canteens, liquid soaps and sanitizers, floor care products and bactericidal surface cleaners.  Their customers include the hotel, catering and leisure industries, laundries, hospitals and care homes, as well as supplying government and local authorities, manufacturing products under customers own branding as well as their own.

VICTORIA PRENTIS signs pledge to Back British Farming in South East

 

Victoria at the drop-in event in Parliament.

Victoria at the drop-in event in Parliament.

Victoria Prentis MP has recognised the vital role that South East farmers are contributing to the economy, the countryside and food production as she pledged to Back British Farming at an event in Westminster this week.  

Farming in the South East contributes £880 million to the local economy and provides 47,246 jobs – this is on top of the safe, affordable food farmers produce and British countryside they maintain.

In addition to its role producing food, farming also supports the work of other industries, such as vets, solicitors, surveyors and feed merchants.

The event in Westminster was held by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) as a rallying call to MPs to support farming – during a particularly crucial period for British farming as the Brexit negotiations begin.

Victoria said: “There are so many worthy reasons to support British farmers. They are responsible for securing a British food supply, looking after our world-renowned countryside and sustaining a dynamic rural economy. That is why I am proud to wear the NFU’s Back British Farming pin badge in Parliament today.

As one of the sectors that will be most affected by Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, it is critical that we create the right regulatory environment to ensure our farmers can continue to provide the safe and affordable food that the public trust and demand.”

If you would like to find out more about how you can Back British Farming, you can join thousands of supporters of the National Farmers’ Union campaign here.

MP HOLDS SURGERY IN BARCLAYS BANK

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On Friday 15 September, North Oxfordshire MP decided to try out a new location for her constituency surgeries – Barclays Bank in Banbury.

While she usually organises ‘Supermarket Surgeries’ in Sainsbury’s cafés, Victoria was kindly invited to hold one of her regular constituent drop-ins in Barclay’s Banbury Branch. With friendly staff and a private room, it was a success with a number of local people popping in to have a chat to Victoria about issues ranging from help with visas to mental health support.

Surgeries are an important part of an MP’s job, giving constituents valuable face to face time with their elected representative. Talking to an MP is quite often people’s last resort and they come with a wide range of issues and concerns.

After the surgery, Victoria commented: “The setting in Barclays Banbury was ideal for meeting my constituents, particularly those with quite complex cases. The staff were very helpful, providing a private room to conduct each appointment in. I am keen to ensure that my surgeries are accessible, so holding them in places such as banks on the high street and supermarket cafes works well. While my diary is very busy, I thoroughly enjoy holding surgeries and meeting constituents, alongside my more rural ‘pub tours’.”

For more information on Victoria’s upcoming surgeries, please visit www.victoriaprentis.com/contact/surgery-appointments/.

MP EXPERIENCES MORNING AS A BUILDER WITH DAVID WILSON HOMES

David Wilson Homes has welcomed Victoria Prentis MP to its development in Deddington for a hands on ‘hard-hat tour’.

The housebuilder invited Victoria Prentis, the MP for North Oxfordshire, to visit Deddington Grange to experience a morning as a builder at the David Wilson Homes site, practicing bricklaying and also enjoying a typical builder’s breakfast of a bacon sandwich.

During her visit Victoria spent time meeting the team behind Deddington Grange and hearing about how construction is progressing.

Deddington Grange will consist of 84 three, four and five bedroom homes once complete.

Victoria Prentis MP, said: “North Oxfordshire has one of the highest growth rates in the country, so it was really interesting to look around David Wilson’s Deddington Grange site on Friday and lay a brick for one of the houses.

“It is always helpful to discuss with developers what housing options they are making available for local people, and what their plans are for affordable housing. It was interesting to look around the show home and I am sure it won’t be long before I am hosting one of my ‘New Residents Roadshows’ on the site.”

John Fitzgerald, Managing Director at David Wilson Homes Mercia, said: “We were delighted to welcome Victoria Prentis to our site to show her first hand the work that goes into creating a development such as Deddington Grange.”

Deddington Grange is a beautiful new development in the desirable Oxfordshire village of Deddington. The new homes border open fields and glorious countryside while still boasting excellent commuter links, with Banbury just four miles away and Oxford reachable in just half an hour.

 

Victoria Launches ‘Virtual Water Fountain’ Scheme in Banbury and Bicester

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Banbury and Bicester have this week joined the campaign to protect the marine environment and cut litter levels by reducing the reliance on disposable plastic water bottles, following the launch of the Refill scheme in the area.

Some 20 local businesses have already signed up to the initiative, which seeks to connect thirsty people with cafes, shops and offices willing to offer free tap water refills. Participating businesses register with an app and also place a sticker in their window alerting passers-by that they are a Refill site, regardless of whether they are customers or not.

The local scheme, which is sponsored by Bicester-based business BRITA UK and has the backing of Victoria Prentis MP, aims to make refilling a reusable water bottle on the go and staying hydrated as easy, convenient and cheap as possible. Research conducted by BRITA UK and Keep Britain Tidy  earlier this year revealed that 59% of us would be more likely to use a reusable water bottle if refills were more freely available in places such as shops, airports and parks.

Research has shown a reduction in the number of water fountains around the country, but English law currently only requires licensed premises to offer free refills, not all establishments that are open to the public. And BRITA’s research found that embarrassment is holding people back; with 71% of people uncomfortable asking for free tap water without buying something else and 37% awkward even if they are making a purchase. The Refill app aims to remove any obstacles to drinking on the go in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.

Britons use 7.7bn single-use plastic bottles every year  despite the fact that these are expensive to produce, use up valuable natural resources to make and transport, and create mountains of waste.  An estimated 800 plastic bottles a minute are either ending up in landfill or as litter, which will too often make its way into our waterways and out to sea, causing severe damage to marine life such as whales, dolphins and turtles.

Banbury and Bicester are the tenth and eleventh towns in England to sign up to Refill, which was first launched by anti-plastic pollution charity City to Sea in Bristol in September 2015 and is now live in cities including Bath and Norwich. The Banbury and Bicester refill scheme was officially launched by Victoria Prentis at a bottle filling ceremony at FLTR Coffee cafe today.

Sarah Taylor, Managing Director of BRITA UK, said: ‘BRITA UK is delighted to be supporting the launch of Refill in Bicester and Banbury. We all know how important it is to stay hydrated on the go, but it can be really difficult to find somewhere to fill up for free or get a glass of water. Unfortunately that often means people purchase plastic bottles that will then be thrown away, causing long-term damage to the marine environment and increasing the amount of litter in our public spaces. The Refill scheme is a practical solution to this problem and I would encourage all businesses in Bicester and Banbury to sign up.

Victoria Prentis, MP for Banbury, said: ‘I am thrilled to launch the Refill scheme in Banbury and Bicester. Disposable bottles can be so damaging to the environment, but they are often hard to avoid, especially when out and about. The simplest solutions are usually the most effective; Refill enables people to do their bit while going about their everyday lives. We can see a similar arrangement in action with London’s Borough Market introducing free water fountains as part of a pledge to phase out single-use plastic bottles over the next six months.  There is definitely scope for this to be a national model. I am really looking forward to seeing how the scheme develops locally and am very grateful to Brita for their generous support.

Natalie Fee, founder of City to Sea, said: ‘Thanks to our partnership with BRITA UK, shoppers and commuters in Banbury and Bicester will never have to buy expensive, environmentally catastrophic bottled water again! Our free Refill rewards app means you’ll be able to find free refills in your local area and earn points as you go – helping you to remember to take your reusable bottle out with you when you leave the house!

Victoria refilling her water bottle to mark the launch of the Banbury and Bicester Refill scheme.

Victoria refilling her water bottle to mark the launch of the Banbury and Bicester Refill scheme.

The Refill team with supporters from Brita and local business owners.

The Refill team with supporters from Brita and local business owners.

Victoria Prentis MP comments on Judicial Review progression

Following today’s decision to grant permission for a full High Court hearing of the Judicial Review brought forward by four local councils against changes to healthcare services, Victoria Prentis MP has made the following statement:

“I am absolutely delighted to hear that permission has been granted for a full hearing of the councils’ Judicial Review application. From the very beginning it was clear that the Clinical Commissioning Group’s Phase One consultation was fatally flawed. North Oxfordshire is united in its opposition to the content and process which has been used. Despite making our views known time and time again, we have been ignored. The application to the High Court for a judicial review was brought by four councils, supported by the Keep the Horton General Campaign Group. Today’s decision by Mr Justice Fraser recognises that our concerns are well founded.

Having sought assurances that no changes to maternity services will be made at the Horton until the judicial review and referrals to the Secretary of State have run their course, I will now write to the Clinical Commissioning Group once again to urge them to abandon their Phase One consultation in its entirety. We need to start again when we have a new Chief Executive and Clinical Lead. At the same time, I will do all I can to assist the councils with their preparations for the full hearing which will we hope take place before the end of the year.”

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