HEALTH bosses have been accused of ‘whitewashing’ a meeting after the public’s questions about plans to overhaul the NHS in Oxfordshire were left unanswered.

Residents left the extraordinary board meeting of Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) disappointed yesterday after they were told to send questions in ahead of the meeting, where feedback on the Big Health and Care Consultation was to be discussed.

CCG board members went through both positive and negative replies they had received on phase one of the plans to reshape health services in response to a growing, ageing population and limited finances, but finished the meeting early without addressing public questions.

Oxford resident Joan Stewart said it was a ‘shambles’ they had not received a direct response.

The member of campaign group Keep Our NHS Public added: “It is a whitewashing exercise.

“It is an attempt to show they are scrutinising the plans.

“The fact that they have justified the proposals, when residents have raised so many concerns is absolutely shocking.”

Residents concerns over the consultation process and splitting the plans into two separate phases were acknowledged by board members, as were their agreement in centralising acute stroke care in Oxford and increasing outpatient care at the Horton General Hospital.

Chairman of Healthwatch Oxfordshire George Smith described the meeting as ‘frustrating and disappointing.’

He added: “We have said all along it was a mistake to split the consultation into two parts and it has left people without a clear vision of where the whole health and social care system is going and without a clear vision, people are going to be upset and anxious.

“I will be speaking at a health meeting on Thursday and I will be imploring Oxfordshire County Council to be a partner in phase two of this plan, it is absolutely vital they are on board.”

Dr Joe McManners chairman of the CCG said: “For me the process is about trying to get the safest options. “It is about lessening people’s concerns and for us to respond as much as possible and try to answer questions and fill in the gaps.

“We have got really great services that can provide capacity at home as well as safe as possible service for the whole community.

“The questions from the public that were not answered today will be responded to and will be published on our website, sometimes a written reply is more coherent than a verbal one.”

The CCG will make its final call on phase one at a meeting on Thursday, August 10, before starting a consultation on phase two.