Recently elected Banbury County Councillors have had letters published in the Banbury Guardian (23/5/13) in support of the Keep The Horton General (KTHG) campaign group and the Banbury Guardian, who have reacted furiously at the suggestion by the CEO of the Oxford university Hospitals Trust, Sir Jonathan Michael, supported by Banbury Tory MP Tony Baldry that the work of the hospital is being undermined by campaigners.
Labour Councillor Surinder Dhesi said, “The Horton is the heart of the town and we will all fight to retain services locally and not be silenced.”
Recently elected County Councillor Mark Cherry said, “I have to say I’m appalled by the comments by the NHS chief, and backed by Sir Tony Baldry, saying this form of campaigning will undermine public confidence. Without the Save the Horton campaign and George Parish’s tireless efforts, Banbury would not have a hospital in the first place – fact.”
County Councillor John Christie has a friend who suffered as a result of the abdominal surgery unit closing down at the Horton, and said, “We must all support the Banbury Guardian and the KTHG in arguing long and loud for key services to be retained and improved at the Horton.”
The feeling amongst Labour Councillors is that no one can be complacent about retaining services at the Horton, especially in the context of the changes being wrought by the Tory-led coalition government, particularly the drive towards privatisation.
A study by the Nuffield Trust showed that spending on private services by the NHS reached a record £8.7bn last year, a jump of £3b since 2006. Despite assurance by the government the study found that spending on health fell in real terms by 0.7% in 2010 and a further 1.2% in 2011.