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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 December 2007, 13:45 GMT
Hospital arguments heard by panel
Hospital ward
A formal decision on the future of the hospital is expected next year
Arguments over the future of an Oxfordshire hospital are being heard by an independent panel of experts.

Campaigners fighting plans to alter key services at Banbury's Horton Hospital have given evidence along with Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust officers.

The panel has been called in to advise Health Secretary Alan Johnson on whether to downgrade maternity and children's services at the hospital.

The trust argues that the move is needed to ensure clinical safety.

January deadline

The proposals involve shutting the special care baby unit, downgrading the current obstetric maternity service to a midwife-led unit and turning the 24-hour children's ward into a day centre.

There would be no emergency surgery undertaken on weekday evenings, or at any time at the weekend, although the accident and emergency department would remain.

The Independent Reconfiguration Panel will issue its report in March next year after which a formal decision on the future of Horton Hospital is expected.

The Save the Horton campaign has urged people who want to save the hospital to write to the panel with their objections to the plans before the deadline on 31 January 2008.

SEE ALSO
Ambulance trip time 'misjudged'
23 Nov 07 |  Oxfordshire
Watchdog condemns hospital cuts
16 Oct 06 |  Oxfordshire
Hospital protest hailed a success
30 Sep 06 |  Oxfordshire
Q&A: Hospitals under threat
21 Aug 07 |  Health

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