Page last updated at 15:10 GMT, Wednesday, 23 April 2008 16:10 UK

New plan for struggling hospital

Hospital ward (generic)
Health Secretary Alan Johnson backed plans to keep the hospital

The future of a struggling hospital in Oxfordshire has been set out - a month after campaigners won a battle to stop services being transferred elsewhere.

The Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Horton General in Banbury, wanted to move its maternity and children's units to Oxford.

But Health Secretary Alan Johnson accepted the recommendation of an independent panel to refuse the plans.

New plans set out how the future of the services will be secured.

They include assessing the health needs of local people as well as developing an "innovative" commissioning strategy for health services.

A full development plan for the hospital will then be agreed.

The Better Healthcare Programme will be delivered in three phases until March 2010.

We also need to reduce the inequalities in health experienced by the local population
Matthew Tait
Better Healthcare Programme

Matthew Tait, of the Better Healthcare Programme project, said: "The overall objectives of the programme are to determine the current and future health needs of the population of Banbury and the surrounding areas.

He added the project would then "plan for the short, medium and long term to ensure all in the area have access to high quality, personalised, safe and appropriate health services.

"We also need to reduce the inequalities in health experienced by the local population and ensure we address the specific recommendations of the IRP report," he said.

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