NEW surgery has been introduced at Banbury’s Horton General Hospital as bosses are looking at bringing more services to the town.
Ear, nose and throat (ENT) procedures started on January 7 and will run on the first, third and fifth Tuesday morning of the month.
Currently, treatment is only for children’s “glue ear” – where part of the ear is filled with fluid – but will expand to include adults. Other procedures will include adenoid removal and nasal septum surgery.
It comes as NHS managers prepared to hold a public meeting last night to discuss the hospital’s future.
Emergency abdominal surgery was axed in January over concerns about staffing, and campaigners previously fought to keep maternity services.
Any Oxfordshire residents will be able to choose the Horton for the new ENT work.
About five people will be seen each day and will make use of existing resources from Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the site.
Patients needing ear surgery will also be assessed on Saturdays.
A trust statement said: “This is a new service to cope with increased demand for ENT services in the Banbury and north Oxfordshire area.”
“Patients will be able to ask their GP to be referred to the Horton.
“Waiting times are expected to shorten.”
Trust medical director Prof Edward Baker said: “I am delighted we have been able to bring ENT surgical services closer to the homes of people in the north of Oxfordshire and surrounding areas.
“We are in a process of looking at other services that can be brought to the Horton.”
Keith Strangwood, chairman of the Keep The Horton campaign group, welcomed the news but added: “We still have concerns about losing major facilities.
“To keep it a fully acute general hospital you need more than day services.”
The trust was last night set to host a meeting at Rye Hill Golf Club, Milcombe to get views on “the kinds of outpatient clinics and day surgery they would like to see brought to the Horton”.
Emergency abdominal surgery was due to be discussed.
The meeting also included representatives from the GP-led Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, which decides on most funding.
Banbury Conservative MP Sir Tony Baldry said: “If we are to have GP-led commissioning, it is only reasonable that people locally can have some understanding of GPs’ views on important matters of this kind.”