A PUBLIC meeting has heard harrowing first hand accounts of how changes to maternity services at the Horton General Hospital have impacted mothers in north Oxfordshire.

A number of women spoke at the meeting of the Horton Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) to tell of the difficulties they experienced during labour after the hospital's maternity facility was downgraded in 2016 to a midwife-led service.

Women who may experience complications during child birth must now travel to Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital.

At the meeting held in Banbury Town Hall on Wednesday campaigners, councillors and MPs called for the full consultant-led service to be re-instated.

One mother's account was read out by North Oxfordshire MP Victoria Prentice telling how she was rushed to the JR for an emergency C-section.

The woman had said: "I got to the JR just in time, a complete miracle that it was a Sunday morning I can only imagine it might have been a very different outcome of we had been caught in rush hour traffic."

Chairman of the Keep the Horton General Campaign Group, Keith Strangwood (pictured) said the group's message had 'been proven' by the stories told at the meeting, though he levelled heavy criticism at the top brass of the local NHS who failed to attend the meeting.

He said: "Where was the chief exec of the CCG, or the chief exec of Oxford University Hospitals? They were not there, they sent junior staff to replace them both, we are still part of the Oxfordshire University Hospitals area but they don't seem to want to come to Banbury."

The special HOSC was set up in August to allow councillors from Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and Northamptonshire to discuss the future of the hospital.

The next meeting of the Horton HOSC is scheduled to take place on January 24.