THE DECISION to downgrade maternity care at Horton General Hospital has been condemned by councillors.

Following its meeting on November 5, Oxfordshire County Council has written a letter to the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group deploring the decision on September 26 to downgrade the maternity ward at Banbury’s hospital to a midwife-led unit.

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A motion by Councillor Eddie Reeves was supported by councillors of all political allegiances.

The motion said: “Public trust in the CCG and in Oxfordshire University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was damaged when the temporary downgrade was enforced, without consultation, in August 2016 and has since been further eroded by the persistent lack of meaningful engagement, which speaks to their Oxford-centric agenda.”

It added that Horton was vital for the care of people in north Oxfordshire, as well as Northamptonshire and Warwickshire called for investment in the hospital.

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Councillor Kieron Mallon of Bloxham and Easington said councillors had been fighting to retain services at the hospital for many years.

Oxfordshire County Council cabinet members recently met with health secretary Matt Hancock to discuss funding for the Horton.