Wantage county councillors push to expand healthcare

Before the coronavirus pandemic, councillors Jane Hanna OBE and Jenny Hannaby received cross party support for a motion seeking a positive commitment within the Wantage and Grove area, now overseen by the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board.

Pilot temporary hospital outpatient clinics were introduced at Wantage Community Hospital during the pandemic, preventing residents from having to travel to Oxford including podiatry, physiotherapy, audiology, ophthalmology and psychological therapies.

But councillors argue there has been no engagement on the matter since 2020.

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The work of the Wantage Health Committee (comprised of local councillors, health advocates and members of the League of Friends) and Oxfordshire HOSC Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) during 2023 has now focused on seeking a resolution to the loss of inpatient beds in 2016.

A one-day workshop was held in June by the NHS with Wantage health committee and community stakeholders. Progress made between the two following a series of meetings allowed for a public engagement exercise to be run.

After analysing results from this consultation, Ms Hannaby has now arranged a public meeting for local residents on Thursday, January 11, 2024 at the Silver Band Hall. 

Ms Hannaby said: “We have been guaranteed that the hospital will not close, that it will retain its maternity services and that it has a vibrant future.

“We now await what the plans are for the ground floor of the hospital. The public will be able to hear the outcome of the consultation and hear from the NHS at the public meeting.”

Ms Hannaby confirmed that through the pandemic and cost of living crisis the Wantage Health Committee has continued to make progress for an expansion of services, with the Health Overview Committee seeking action from all health partners.

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Councillor Jane Hanna OBE, chair of HOSC, said: “There has no doubt been intensive work on the future of the hospital by all involved to explore options.

“The options that went to the public concerned the return of inpatient beds or making permanent existing hospital outpatient clinics and expanding these clinics, urgent care provision alongside hospital at home and other additional service provision when needed. 

“As part of the coproduction work the NHS has confirmed to HOSC the community infrastructure levy funds that it can claim from the Vale to spend on Wantage Hospital to help support its business case, alongside resources from NHS partners that will be used to support a sustainable plan for future.  

“A huge thanks to all those who took part in the recent consultation and gave their views.

“We now need to hear the planned outcome for the hospital and get feedback from the public meeting and for HOSC then to receive the report for consideration on January 16.”


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