Our health needs in Oxfordshire are changing. Our population is increasing and living longer with more long term conditions. We know that treatments including medication and surgery are always improving and the evidence about how to get the best outcomes for patients can mean changing the way we do things. We want to make sure quality of care is at the heart of what we do and this means being prepared to do things differently for the benefit of all.

All the changes which are now being proposed and consulted on - following the Big Health and Care Conversation' we carried out with patients and public during 2016 - are about improving the quality of care. These changes are being considered now because the quality of care for patients will be affected if we delay making decisions. However, final decisions will not be made until the views of patients, the public and health workers are fully considered during and after the Big Consultation. 

Which services are being consulted on? 

The big health and care consultation covers acute hospital services (acute hospitals provide a wide range of specialist care and treatment including surgery, medical care, emergency care and tests), specifically:

  • planned care at the Horton General in Banbury (planned care includes tests and treatment planned in advance and not urgent or emergency care)
  • acute stroke services in Oxfordshire
  • critical care at the Horton General (critical care helps people with life-threatening or very serious injuries and illnesses
  • maternity services including obstetrics, Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) and emergency gynaecology surgery in North Oxfordshire
  • changing the way we use our hospital beds and increasing care closer to home in Oxfordshire

The proposals being considered:  

  • developing planned care and outpatients at the Horton General so patients in the North of the county do not have travel to Oxford  for diagnostic tests and treatment, but can have these closer to home
  • taking ALL acute stroke patients to the specialist unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.  About 12 % of acute stroke patients are still admitted to the Horton General and some of these patients then have to be transferred to the JR.  In many areas around the country all stroke patients are already taken directly to a specialist stroke unit    
  • changes to the way patients needing the highest level of care are treated. For example after a heart attack, stroke or serious accident most people now go to the JR and fewer people with the most serious care needs are treated at the Horton General. This means doctors and nurses at the Horton General do not get as many opportunities to keep up their skills.  We have to make decisions based on the safety for patients  
  • changes to maternity services because of the difficulty in recruiting and keeping suitably qualified staff to continue to have two centres in Oxfordshire providing obstetrics
  • permanent closure of some acute hospital beds to bring care closer to home and to better join up primary, community and acute hospital care  


You can see full details about these proposals in the consultation document here.