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Clinical Commissioning Group launches maternity survey

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Thousands of women and their partners are being invited to share their experience of using maternity services.

Their feedback will help us understand what they think is important, what worked for them and what could be better, as well as how changes made at the Horton General Hospital in Banbury have affected them.

Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG), which is responsible for ensuring health services are provided to people living in Oxfordshire, is asking approximately 16,000 women who have given birth in one of the maternity units in Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Reading and Swindon over the last two years to take part in a survey.

Details of the survey will be sent directly to women who have used these services inviting them to take part.

All Oxfordshire women who have given birth during the two-year period will be asked to complete the survey. In addition, the women who live in south Northamptonshire and south Warwickshire will also be invited as they live in the Horton General Hospital catchment area.

The survey will ask questions about their experience of labour and giving birth and the choices they made. This will include travelling to hospital, car parking and location of services, and will ask women to describe their experiences.

Catherine Mountford, Director of Governance at OCCG, said: "We urge all women who have given birth since October 2016 to look out for their invitation letter coming through the post and once it arrives I would like to encourage them to take part and complete the survey with as much information as possible.

"The debate around the future of maternity services in Banbury has been going on for some time. People have strong feelings about the closure of the Horton obstetrics unit and its impact on families in the north of the county and beyond.

"We are looking again at the options and need to take account of the experience of women from across Oxfordshire as well as those living in the Horton catchment area. We need to understand if the experience of women from all these areas is similar or different and how the changes at the Horton have impacted them. That's why this work is so important: so we can get the fullest picture from the people who are at the heart of maternity services - women and their families."

Following the challenge to the decisions made in 2017, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care asked OCCG to look again at the options and to ask women affected by the changes to share their experience. This work is being overseen by the Horton Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC), set up to reflect the catchment area of the hospital.

The survey is being carried out by a specialist research company.

The results of the survey will be used by OCCG when it makes decisions about maternity services at the Horton General Hospital later this year. The obstetric unit at the hospital was closed on safety grounds in October 2016 because of long-term difficulties in recruiting suitably qualified doctors.