Banbury and Bicester Labour Party welcomes the decision of the Oxfordshire health watchdog (HOSC) to refer to the Secretary of State for Health, the temporary closure of the consultant-led maternity unit at the Horton Hospital.
Cllr Sean Woodcock, Leader of the Labour Group on Cherwell District Council says, “In 2008, it was referred to the then Secretary of State, Labour’s Alan Johnson who made the correct decision to retain services at the Horton. We can now hope that history repeats itself and that Jeremy Hunt will make the right call for the people of Banbury and beyond.”
In addition, Banbury and Bicester Labour Party are saying that the issues of health provision need to be considered in the light of the failure of the social care sector and uncertainty in recruitment following Brexit.
In an open letter to the health watchdog (HOSC) Cllrs Sean Woodcock and Steve Kilsby, respectively leaders of the Labour Groups on the district and town councils, have written, “The demand for treatment is increasing year upon year and unprecedented cuts to the money given to councils by central government, has had the effect of virtually condemning the social care sector to failure.
The knock-on effect of this is that more and more people are turning up to NHS hospitals because of the absence of adequate social care. The measures that have been proposed for allowing increases in council tax are completely inadequate sticking plasters applied to gaping wounds, and need a major overhaul. They are symptomatic of a government that is not leading on the issue and is instead passing the buck on to local councils.
Matters will only get worse with an anticipated £200m funding gap for Oxfordshire in 2020-21.”
The Health trust say they have struggled to recruit obstetric doctors to the Horton so Labour councillors want the watchdog to ask what representations have they made, if any, to central government regarding staffing and the importance of any post-Brexit arrangements allowing NHS providers to recruit the best staff from around the world?
Labour Leaders Woodcock and Kilsby say they are aware of the pressures that have been put on the health watchdog by increasing publicity but say, “By pushing for answers to these questions, we will ensure that the people who rely on the Horton Hospital and who care about its future are properly served.”