Cabinet members in West Oxfordshire are preparing a robust response to proposals for a major shake-up of healthcare services across the county.
The Oxfordshire Healthcare Transformation Programme is a five-year Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) designed to make changes to healthcare to ensure services are improved with smarter use of resources.
The programme is designed to help plug a predicted £479m gap in NHS funding across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire in the face of rapidly increasing demand.
Phase 1 of the plan includes changes to the way hospital beds are used with more care being provided in patients’ homes, a reduction in the level of critical care at the Horton General Hospital in Banbury and moving all high risk pregnancies for treatment at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
In preparing their consultation response, councillors acknowledged the need to improve services in the face of increasing demand and the aim of treating more patients at home.
But they remain concerned about what is contained in Phase 2 of the plans and stressed that there should be no reduction in care in West Oxfordshire with midwife-led maternity and first aid units continuing in Chipping Norton while car parking should be increased at the John Radcliffe.
And councillors have asked that district authorities be added to the STP board to allow for greater participation on the development of Phase 2 proposals.
Cllr Jeanette Baker, Cabinet Member for Community and Health, said: “We recognise the NHS has to be radically changed as there are services which are inefficient and do not meet patients’ needs.
“The Council will be firm with its response to Phase 1 of the proposals. It is absolutely dependent on there being no reduction in services for residents in West Oxfordshire as part of Phase 2.
“As a result, we feel very strongly that the districts and Oxford City Council should be included on the STP board as we play a key role in decisions on housing and the economy of our areas. As part of this, we are keen to emphasise the importance of staff training and retention.”