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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Our vision for the Horton

At the Horton General Hospital, Banbury, we want to develop an innovative health campus with the objective of becoming a centre of excellence for selected services. Plans are being considered for redevelopment of the site to make it 'a general hospital fit for the 21st century,' said OUH Chief Executive Dr Bruno Holthof.

The Horton is one of the smallest district general hospitals in England and the Trust has focused for some years on developing plans for its sustainability. The vision includes:

  • expanding outpatient facilities to increase the number of outpatient appointments available at the Horton, reducing the number of patients who need to travel to Oxford to be seen;
  • increasing day case surgery and improving outpatient diagnostic services like radiology to reduce the need for patients to travel to Oxford's hospital departments for tests and scans.

Recent developments at the Horton include a refurbished radiology department and work is now starting on a £3.6 million investment to replace the CT scanner. Work is also nearly complete on a £2.6 million refurbishment of the Endoscopy Unit at the Horton.

'There are wider questions about the role of the Horton', said Dr Holthof. 'But we have invested in the Horton in the past and will continue to invest it it in the future.'

Emerging options for the Horton follow discussions with clinicians about the current models of care for specialist care, diagnostics, urgent and emergency care, maternity and children's services.

Image of process involved

Horton maternity unit and recruitment of obstetric doctors

In the short term, the Trust has struggled to recruit enough obstetric doctors for the maternity unit at the Horton, to the point that there will be just two doctors in post by early October.  The Trust’s contingency arrangements are for the maternity unit to become midwife-led while efforts continue to fill the vacant posts. 

Dr Holthof said: 'We understand there will be concerns about the possibility of the maternity unit becoming midwife-led.  However, our first priority is to manage births safely at the unit.  If you do not have enough doctors, it is not safe to run an obstetrics unit.'

Midwives will continue to provide home births and low-risk births at the Horton maternity unit.  Antenatal and postnatal clinics will also continue.  But high risk women, for example women with multiple pregnancies, high BMIs, or expected complications will give birth at the John Radcliffe Hospital where obstetric care is available.   The Trust will continue to advertise the posts with the intention to staff these posts at the Horton.