Judge rules consultation as lawful

Date: 21 December 2017


Today Mr Justice Mostyn has ruled in favour of Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) in the judicial review of its Transformation Consultation process.

Earlier this year Cherwell District Council, South Northamptonshire District Council, Stratford-on-Avon District Council, Banbury Town Council and interested party Keep the Horton General challenged, in judicial review proceedings, the lawfulness of OCCG’s Transformation Consultation and decisions resulting from it. Their arguments were heard by the court on 6 and 7 December 2017.

The judge hearing the case dismissed the claims brought by the claimants.

David Smith, Chief Executive of Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We are pleased the judge has made the decision in favour of OCCG. His quick ruling has supported what we have always believed was a well conducted consultation on proposals to make urgent changes to some Oxfordshire health services, based entirely on safety and quality of patient care.

“We are however, mindful that the campaign group and the district councils were unhappy with the consultation and its outcomes and felt strongly enough to take legal action. We will take away learning from this experience and how we work with our local communities and local authorities in Oxfordshire as well as neighbouring areas to the benefit of our patients in the future.”

“We understand the strength of feeling among local people, especially those who live in the north of the county; but we firmly believe the decisions we made will ensure safe and sustainable patient care for now and the future.”





Notes to Editors:

Following the three month ‘Big Health and Care Consultation’ consultation held between 16 January 2017 until 9 April, OCCG approved changes (10 August 2017) to some healthcare services in Oxfordshire which will ensure safety, quality and better outcomes for patients.

The Board’s consideration of the five proposals was thorough and had to take into account the available clinical evidence, current workforce matters, clinical views and safety issues as well as the views of a wide variety of partners and stakeholders. OCCG’s decisions were all taken based on ensuring the safety and sustainability of services available to Oxfordshire residents (and those of surrounding counties).

The following five recommendations were accepted by the Board of OCCG:

Critical Care:

The sickest (level 3) critical care patients from North Oxfordshire and its neighbouring areas, will now be treated at the Oxford Intensive Care Unit (patients living in South Northamptonshire and South Warwickshire might be treated at the critical care units in hospitals in Warwick, Northampton or Milton Keynes if closer). The Critical Care Unit (CCU) at the Horton General Hospital in Banbury will become a Level 2 centre for less seriously ill patients – those, for example, who need closer observation after being in intensive care and for post-operative care. The Horton CCU will work closely with the main centre in Oxford.

Acute stoke services:

All Oxfordshire patients (and those from some neighbouring areas) who are suspected of having suffered a stroke will go directly to the Hyper Acute Stroke Unit (HASU) at the John Radcliffe Hospital (JRH) in Oxford for the best available treatments, such as surgical removal of clots and clot busting drugs. Patients across Oxfordshire will be supported by the roll-out of countywide early supported discharge to improve outcomes and rehabilitation, either at home or in other community settings.

Changes to Acute Bed Numbers:

The closure of some acute beds across the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUHFT) sites (including the Horton General) is now permanent. Beds were temporarily closed in November 2015 as part of a project to tackle the issue of patients stranded in hospital when they no longer need to be there (delayed transfers of care). This allowed funding to be invested in other services to support frail and vulnerable people in their own homes or care homes. The implementation of these closures will now be staged:

  • 110 beds are already closed and will remain closed so investment in alternative services can be made permanent. Alternative services include provision of nursing home beds; investment in an ‘ambulatory’ model of care where patients are quickly assessed, treated and given rehabilitation support, without having to be admitted to hospital; care for people at home following hospital admission through the acute hospital at home service and the home assessment and rehabilitation team.
  • An additional 36 beds will only be permanently closed when the system has made significant progress in reducing the numbers of delayed transfers of care. Any further planned closures will need to be reviewed by Thames Valley Clinical Senate and assured by NHS England.

Planned care services at the Horton General Hospital:

The NHS in Oxfordshire has committed to the development of new 21st century diagnostic and outpatient departments at the Horton General Hospital in Banbury; an advanced pre-operative assessment unit; and improvements to the planned operations service at the Horton General. These changes will allow more patients to be treated closer to where they live in North Oxfordshire, South Northamptonshire and South Warwickshire. They will allow up to 90,000 more outpatients appointments, diagnostic tests and operations to be provided at the Horton.

Maternity Services:

The Board accepted the recommendations for a single specialist obstetric unit for Oxfordshire (and its neighbouring areas) at the John Radcliffe Hospital and a permanent Midwife Led Unit (MLU) at the Horton General Hospital in Banbury. The obstetric unit at the Horton General Hospital has been temporarily closed since October 2016 and will not be re-opened.

  • Summary:

    Today Mr Justice Mostyn has ruled in favour of Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) in the judicial review of its Transformation Consultation process.

  • Transformation:
  • Date:
    21 December 2017