CONTROVERSIAL plans to downgrade maternity services at the Horton General Hospital are set to be confirmed today.

Despite years of campaigners fighting to keep the obstetric unit at the Banbury site Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)'s board is recommended to confirm the closure of the unit and its replacement with a midwifery-led unit for the foreseeable future.

The obstetric unit at the hospital was closed on safety grounds in October 2016 because of long-term problems in recruiting suitably qualified doctors, with the hospital now offering only a midwifery-led unit.

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A paper released last week by the CCG said it was important to 'remove uncertainty' for staff and patients.

Keep the Horton General campaigners have spent years challenging the downgrading of the maternity ward and want the decision to be referred back to the Secretary of State for Health by the new Horton health overview and scrutiny committee.

MP Victoria Prentis has also described the recommendation as ‘extremely disappointing’ adding: "I believe we can do more to recruit obstetricians and reopen a safe service. As I have said many times before, the JR is simply too far to travel when in labour or an emergency situation."

The meeting starts at 2pm at Jubilee House in Oxford.