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KEY questions will be put to health bosses by Banbury MP Victoria Prentis as she calls for a halt to a major downgrade of maternity services at the Horton General Hospital, Banbury.

Ms Prentis has been invited to address the board of members of the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group today as they decide on proposals for phase one of the Oxfordshire Sustainability and Transformation Programme (STP).

The plan would also see the closure of 146 acute beds and the reduction in the critical care level at the Horton.

Ms Prentis’ nine-point letter will be put to health bosses at the meeting at Oxford Examination Schools in High Street at 9.30am before the CCG makes its final decision.

Campaigners have gathered outside the meeting venue to protest the plan.

Ms Prentis's letter to the OCCG chief executive David Smith Mrs Prentis highlights a number of concerns including fears of increased journey times for patients.

She says ‘Mott Macdonald’s Post-Consultation Report lists the following negative impacts associated with the proposals: increased stress and anxiety, increased costs associated with travel: lack of viable alternative transport methods: access difficulties for visitors and carer and unfamiliarity of hospital.’

She continues to question whether the CCG are confident enough has been done to ensure patients and families will receive support needed in light of these issues.

Keep the Horton General campaign group chairman Keith Strangwood has also been given five minutes to address the meeting.

Campaigners are expected to turn out in force to lobby ahead of the decision as coach journeys are being hosted between Banbury and Oxford.

The meeting comes just days after the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee decided to refer the matter of the Horton’s maternity services to the Secretary of State should today’s decision see the CCG go ahead with proposals.

Following the meeting Ms Prentis said: “The CCG Board now finds itself meeting to decide on its proposals, yet there are three ongoing referrals to the IRP relating to the consultation, as well as an existing application for judicial review brought by five local councils.

“I urge the CCG to pause decisions until they are able to present a clear vision for health services in our area, and reassure us they have considered all proposals particularly Cherwell District Council’s Banbury Health Campus concept.”