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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Update on obstetric doctor recruitment for the Horton General Hospital

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In late August 2016, a decision was taken by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to temporarily transfer obstetric-led maternity services from the Horton General Hospital to the John Radcliffe Hospital. The decision was taken when it became clear that there would be too few obstetricians in post at the Horton to run a safe obstetric service.

At the same time the Trust said that it would review the recruitment situation in October 2016 to see if enough middle grade doctors had been recruited to allow the obstetric-led unit to re-open in January 2017. The unit requires nine middle grade doctors in post to run safely.

Following this review, it is clear that it is not possible to reopen the obstetric-led unit in January 2017 as there will still not be sufficient doctors in post to run a safe obstetric service at the Horton from that date. Therefore the midwifery-led unit status will continue at the hospital until March 2017 and in the meantime we are making every effort to recruit the doctors required.

Oxford University Hospitals' Chief Executive Dr Bruno Holthof said:

"Across the NHS, hospital trusts are affected by a shortage of obstetric doctors, and unfortunately this has also hit recruitment for the Horton General Hospital. We are disappointed that we cannot return obstetric-led maternity services to the Horton in January as hoped and we will continue to advertise widely, offering an enhanced package to attract the candidates we need.

"Patient safety must come first, and of course we cannot run the obstetric-led service without the staff for it to operate safely."