Conservatives across south Oxfordshire have united in the fight to save community hospitals threatened with closure.
Currently, there are six community hospitals – Abingdon, Didcot, Townlands, Wallingford, Wantage and Witney. If proposals made by the Primary Care Trusts are implemented then these will be cut to just three.
MPs David Cameron, (Witney) and Boris Johnson, (Henley) and Conservative Parliamentary Spokesmen Ed Vaizey, (Wantage) and Amanda McLean, (Oxford West & Abingdon) say that this will have a devastating impact on healthcare in Oxfordshire, particularly for the most vulnerable, including the elderly and those suffering from mental health problems.
They say it is wrong and sad that six Oxfordshire towns should have been set against each other, under the Primary Care Trust review, each engaged in a beggar-my-neighbour strategy to keep its hospital.
Boris Johnson commented:
“Conservatives oppose these changes, which have come about despite all the money the government says it is putting into the NHS.”
David Cameron, whose West Oxfordshire constituency also includes a community hospital in Chipping Norton, said:
“There are currently problems in the NHS with bed blocking and long waits at A&E. Everyone agrees that we want treatment close to where patients live. As a result any proposals to downscale our community hospitals should be resisted.”
Amanda McLean added:
“People have been queuing up to sign our petition against the closures. Residents feel very let down by these proposals.”
And Ed Vaizey pledged:
“We will fight tooth and nail to keep our local community services alive”.
The group say that none of the hospitals should be closed. Instead, the facilities offered at some of the hospitals should be enhanced, ensuring an improved service to patients in south Oxfordshire.