Oxfordshire NHS News

Oxfordshire KONP  Newsletter

stp-protest-2Protest outside meeting of County Council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, 17 Nov 2016

PRESS RELEASE –Oxon GPs reject downgrade of Horton Hospital 18 November 2016 

The following letter sent to Councillor Yvonne Constance, chair of the Oxon Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, along with letters from MPs, was not mentioned during the meeting last Thursday which accepted reports from the Oxon Clinical Commissioning Group that included ‘temporary’ closure of parts of the Horton Hospital in Banbury.

The wording dramatically highlights concern among medics, which was abundantly endorsed by members of the public at the lobby of the meeting.

As members of the public we are scandalised that this letter was not made public in the meeting.

If the members of the HOSC were not informed of the letter by the chair, then they will have to hold the chair to account.’

Letter starts:

15th November 2016

David Smith, CEO OCCG
Joe McManners, Clinical Chair OCCG
Paul Park, Clinical Chair NOCCG
Bruno Holthof, CEO OUH
Fiona Caldicott, Chair OUH
Yvonne Constance, Chair HOSC, OCC
Ian Hudspeth, Leader of OCC
Sean Lee Woodcock, CDC
Barry Wood, CDC
Andrew McHugh, CDC
Ian Davies, CDC
Victoria Prentis, MP
Nadim Zahawi, MP
Andrea Leadsom, MP
Banbury Guardian

As local GPs we would like to express our dismay and concern regarding the downgrading of the Horton Hospital.

We feel this will have a huge impact on our patients and make it far harder for them to access healthcare services. We recognise that very specialist healthcare is best delivered in larger centres, but what is threatened is the dismantling of basic services at the Horton such as Maternity and Child Health with the subsequent knock on effect on other specialities and ultimately their closure.

Inequities in service provision across the county and neighbouring counties will be widened and this will disproportionally affect the most deprived.

The downgrading will put further strain on an already stretched and vulnerable primary care service; both threatening its future and putting patients at increased risk of poor health.

We would urge all involved to act now and prevent this ill-conceived and short sighted action.


Dr Emma Haskew, Sibford .
Dr David Spackman, Sibford .
Dr Jane Charles-Nash, Brackley.
Dr Jane Cassidy, Brackley.
Dr Paul Parsons, Brackley.
Dr Philip Stevens, Brackley.
Dr Melanie Patton, Brackley.
Dr Tim Hurst, Bloxham.
Dr Anne Edwards, Bloxham.
Dr Cath Rose, Bloxham.
Dr Sanjay Ramani, Bloxham.
Dr Jenny McGillivray, Bloxham.
Dr Debra Wignell, Banbury.
Dr Rachael Urquhart, Banbury.
Dr Liz Dawson, Banbury.
Dr Jonathan Williams, Banbury.
Dr Angela Alcock, Banbury.
Dr Ann Sanders, Banbury.
Dr Jane Pargeter, Chipping Norton.
Dr Caroline Keenan, Chipping Norton.
Dr Jonathan Whittle, Chipping Norton.
Dr Isabel Welch, Chipping Norton.
Dr Wendy Hall, Chipping Norton.
Dr Jane Gilder, Shipston.
Dr David Williams, Shipston.
Dr Sue Pritchard, Shipston.
Dr Paul Daniel, Shipston.
Dr Tim Marshall, Shipston.
Dr Richard Levison, Shipston.
Dr Carolyn Barcoe, Shipston.
Dr David Nixon, Milton-u-Wychwood.
Dr Nina Brown, Milton-u-Wychwood.
Dr Katrina Darker, Milton-u-Wychwood.
Dr Dominic Matthews, Milton-u-Wychwood.
Dr Jenny Layton-Henry, Kineton and Tysoe.
Dr Raj Kanwar, Kineton and Tysoe.
Dr Adam Bone, Byfield.
Dr Rob Harvey, Byfield.
Dr Muhammad Nawaz, Byfield.
Dr Nicola Moerdyk, Byfield.
Dr Alex Davis, Bicester.
Dr Harriet Campbell , Bicester.
Dr Dal Samra, Bicester.
Dr Barry Tucker, Cropredy.
Dr Nikki Hodgkins, Shenington.

 End of letter

Oxfordshire Keep Our National Health Service Public
Contacts: Dr Ken Williamson, chair of Oxfordshire Keep Our NHS Public, Mobile: 07831 570936
Mark Ladbrooke, secretary 07501 071 526
Bill MacKeith, press officer 01865 558145

Press release: 6 October 2016: Oxfordshire health consultation a sham

Campaigners from Oxfordshire Keep Our NHS Public today criticised the decision of the body responsible for buying health services on our behalf for completing contracts before consulting the public and patients on a controversial plan that will mean service cuts, and department and hospital closures across the county.
By the time the formal consultation process on the Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) begins in January 2017, the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) will have already had its currently secret plans passed by its controllers – NHS England (NHSE). If the plans are not approved, then it will be deprived of Transformation money allocated by NHSE to fund the service improvements it hopes to deliver. By January 2017 OCCG will also have completed its two-year operational plans and agreed contracts with service providers.

A necessary process undoubtedly, but one that cannot be said to support proper
consultation, which to be meaningful must allow the possibility of the public having the opportunity to make changes. Chair of the House of Commons health select committee, Dr Sarah Wollaston, has stated that: ‘The lesson we learn from every major reorganisation has been that if we take local people with us on the journey, and on the thinking behind it, it is much more likely to be successful. We should not see genuine local consultation and engagement as an inconvenience but as something that improves the eventual plans.’

Julia Simon, until earlier this month the head of NHS England’s commissioning policy unit and its co-commissioning of primary care programme director, warned ‘forcing health and care organisations to come together so quickly to draw up the complex plans was likely to backfire. Up against tight deadlines, organisations were likely to make unrealistic financial forecasts and claims about benefits to patient care.’ Ms Simon added: ‘Everyone will submit a plan, because they have to. But it means there is a lot of blue sky thinking and then you have a lot of lies in the system about the financial position, benefits that will be delivered – it’s just a construct, not a reality.’

Chair of Oxfordshire Keep Our NHS Public, Dr Ken Williamson, said: ‘When even a former member of NHSE speaks out against the secrecy and pace of the Sustainability and Transformation Plans, we are right to be suspicious and to question whether these plans are less about improvements to patient services and more about continuing to severely defund the NHS, secreted within the Trojan horse of ‘cost-efficiencies’.

Contacts: Dr Ken Williamson, Chair of Oxfordshire Keep Our NHS Public, mobile: 07831570936. Bill MacKeith, Secretary, 01865 558145
keepournhspublicoxfordshire.org.uk; https://www.facebook.com/konpoxon;

Press release: 27 September 2016
Secret plans for Oxfordshire still under wraps

The body that has agreed to cut £9.7 million from local health services, but has yet to admit where the axe will fall, now refuses to reveal its involvement in secret government plans that could see further threats to patient care in Oxfordshire.
Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) continues to stall by not answering direct questions put by campaigners Oxfordshire Keep Our NHS Public, and by its repeated delays in responding to an information request from our local Healthwatch, challenging the secrecy of the plans.

And the local Health Scrutiny Committee, which has a public duty to ask searching questions about significant changes to local health services, has once again failed to see this blueprint, officially known as a Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), which will impose further drastic cuts on local health and social care. Leaks of STPs from other parts of the country reveal planned cuts that will see more GP practices closed, community services reduced or removed altogether, hospital wards and whole departments downgraded or axed, beds permanently lost, A&E threatened, and staff terms and conditions weakened.

The tell-tale signs are already visible throughout Oxfordshire, with the downgrading of maternity services at the Horton, GP practice closures in Witney and Bicester, and hospital and community beds no longer available. Chair of Oxfordshire Keep Our NHS Public, Dr Ken Williamson, said today: ‘That the public is being prevented mfrom seeing these secret plans until the end of the year is shocking. It isn’t good enough to say that the plans have to have government approval before the public can comment on them. By Christmas, these plans will be a done deal, and any consultation will be a cynical PR exercise, and totally meaningless.

These plans (STPs) are being imposed by central government as part of a massive de-funding of our National Health Service, deliberately starving it of much-needed investment. Chomsky said that the standard technique of privatisation was: “defund, make sure things don’t work, people get angry, hand it over to private capital”. They want the NHS to fail. They want people to get angry. All the easier to introduce co-payments and private health insurance.’

Contact: Dr Ken Williamson, Chair of Oxfordshire Keep Our NHS Public, Mobile: 07831 570936
Bill MacKeith, Secretary of Oxfordshire Keep Our NHS Public 01865 558145
keepournhspublicoxfordshire.org.uk; https://www.facebook.com/konpoxon; @keepNHS_oxon

PRESS RELEASE – 24 August 2016 
Horton Hospital cuts are ‘Sustainability and Transformation’ in action

Thursday’s (25 August) special meeting of the Oxon Clinical Commissioning Group board, and the 31 August meeting of the Oxford Hospitals board coincide with proposals to downgrade the Horton from a general hospital to nothing much more than Outpatients with some Intermediate Care Beds, losing Maternity and Paediatric units, Acute Care and therefore the A&E department.

The cover for the cuts is the local version of secret ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans’ that are being rolled out across England with NO PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY.

In 2008 the Independent Reconfiguration Panel found that hospitals in Oxford were too far away for safe and timely transfer of acutely ill patients or expecting mothers from ‘Banburyshire’. Its population is now forecast to increase to 250,000, and the traffic is much worse!

If the Horton loses its services, the John Radcliffe and other Oxford hospitals will be overwhelmed. So people in the rest of the county need to oppose the Horton cuts.

The new CEO of the Hospitals Trust, Bruno Holthof, has been brought in as a ‘transformer’ with a history in private medicine and of rationalising hospital sites. Is the Horton site ‘ripe for redevelopment’?

The ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plan’

The National Health Service is already starved of funds and staff. In recent months, through NHS England, under Jeremy Hunt, a new top-down reorganisation has been developed. The plans are secret, have had no public discussion and are absent from any political manifesto.  Efforts to obtain copies of the plans in advance have been obstructed.

England has been divided into into 44 new areas called ‘Footprints’ (ours is Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and West Berkshire – ‘BOB’ to the NHS managers).

Each ‘Footprint’ has been ordered to produce a ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plan’ to bring it into financial balance before 2020. Balancing the books when funding is grossly inadequate means cuts, unfilled vacancies, and closures. The Horton plans are STPs IN ACTION. The model begins to look like the Accountable Care Organisations in the United States’ private health insurance system, with which of course NHS England’s boss Simon Stevens is familiar.