EMERGENCY abdominal surgery will be suspended at Banbury’s Horton General Hospital because of a shortage of consultants with necessary expertise.

The surgery will stop at the Horton from tomorrow and be transferred to Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital.

The decision will affect patients requiring emergency operations for appendicitis, emergency hernias and acute bowel and gallbladder problems.

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the county’s biggest hospitals, made the announcement today as it revealed plans for a major consultation on services at the Horton.

The trust says it has plans to expand outpatients and routine day surgery in Banbury.

Paul Brennan, director of Clinical Services at OUHT, said: “Because of some unexpected changes in medical staffing personnel, there are no longer enough consultants with the required expertise in major abdominal surgery within the surgical team to ensure that patients requiring emergency assessment and surgery can be cared for safely.”

On average five patients a week have emergency abdominal surgery at the Horton.

The consultation on services at the Horton will be launched in March.