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TWO Oxford MPs are ‘disappointed’ and ‘furious’ that health chiefs decided to permanently downgrade maternity services at a Banbury hospital.

Both Witney MP Robert Courts and Banbury MP Victoria Prentis spoke passionately yesterday at an extraordinary meeting of the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in the hope to dissuade board members from making the temporary midwife-led unit permanent at Horton General Hospital.

Speaking after the meeting Ms Prentis said: “The consultation has been fatally flawed, it is a complete farce.

“I do not think the serious issues that five district councils have brought forward by calling for a judicial review, nor by two MPs have been heard at all.

“But we are not giving up, I am quite sure there is still some hope, with the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s referral to the Secretary of State on this matter.

“The real sadness for me, is I feel that the CCG will use this as an excuse and will give up on trying to find the staff needed to bring this back up to a consultant-led unit.”

Mr Courts added he felt that CCG board members had made a rushed decision.

He added: “With this consultation being split in half, how are we supposed to know the impact all this will have on our health services?

“And that is what is extremely worrying, does this now mean a domino effect on other services being reduced or stopped altogether?

“This whole process has been so ill-thought out.”