DOZENS of protestors rallied at the Horton Hospital as part of a nationwide campaign to highlight concerns about the NHS.
Thousands of people, including members of the Keep the Horton General campaign group, marched in London to share their anger over the mounting crisis facing the NHS
While up to 60 people staged their own protest at the Banbury hospital, in Oxford Road, on Saturday.
Labour group leader Sean Woodcock, who attended the Banbury protest, said: “There was a good crowd considering the poor weather and late notice.
“It was important to go along and show that there are still people willing to fight for our hospital. Determination among those who attended remains.”
Sue Edgar, chair of Labour Health Matters, a working group of the Banbury and Bicester constituency Labour Party, welcomed the local protest and said the group would continue to “battle to prevent irreparable harm being done to our local communities through the loss of a fully functioning hospital”.
It comes as North Oxfordshire MP Victoria Prentis raised concerns about “lines of communication” between herself, Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, about maternity services.
Last month, midwives had to be drafted into Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital, from around the county meaning a reduced and cancelled service at some other midwife-led units.
Mrs Prentis said: “I was extremely disappointed to find out that the Horton MLU has been closed on two separate occasions in recent weeks.
“It should not be for my constituents to tell me what is going on, but for the Trust to come to me with the information I need to allay people’s concerns.
“I have made no secret of the fact that I feel lines of communication are poor; since changes to obstetric services were first announced in the summer of 2016, it has been very difficult to extract the relevant information.
“I continue to make my views known to both the Trust and local Clinical Commissioning Group at every opportunity, and remain committed to fight for the future of the Horton General Hospital.”
OUH Trust said it had experienced “an unusually high level of demand on our maternity unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital” over the weekend of January 20 and 21, and in line with processes on-call midwives were drafted in. It said the Horton unit remained open.
Dame Fiona Caldicott, chairman of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, says: “We were disappointed to hear Victoria Prentis’ comments.
“We strive to be as open and transparent as possible with our patients, governors, local communities and MPs.
“Our board meetings are held in public with papers published on our website in advance.”