CAMPAIGNERS have criticised an independent review into the decision to downgrade maternity services at the Horton General Hospital.

Keith Strangwood, chairman of Keep Our Horton General, called the findings, which fell short of recommending a full investigation, 'disappointing' and said: "This was not the result we were hoping for.

"With reference to Lord Ribeiro’s suggestion that yet another scrutiny committee be set up, we already have two of them. The Community Partnership Network and the Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee. What is the point in a third?"

Last year Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) decided to permanently downgrade the unit at the Banbury hospital from consultant led to midwife-led as part of phase one of its Transformation Plan.

The Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) - the expert review body on NHS service change – agreed to examine the case after it was referred to Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt by Oxfordshire’s Joint Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee (JHOSC).

In a report published last week, the IRP said the public consultation process ‘fell short’ and the decision by the CCG to split the overhaul of local health services into two phases had led to 'confusion and suspicion'.

Mr Hunt has accepted the panel’s advice and suggested that a new committee which spans the Horton’s catchment area and covers all the local authorities is set up to monitor progress going forward.