A HIGH Court judge has dismissed an appeal by health campaigners who claimed a public consultation run by Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) had been unlawful.

Campaigners from Keep the Horton General (KTHG) had claimed OCCG had failed to properly consult the public on plans to permanently downgrade maternity services at the Horton General Hospital in Banbury.

The move, part of the CCG's overhaul of health services in Oxfordshire, also resulted in the loss of the special care baby unit and closure of 45 beds at the hospital.

Read again:Meeting hears impact of Horton maternity downgrade

Chairman of KTHG, Keith Strangwood, said they had 'fought tooth and nail for the people of Banburyshire'.

He added: "We won’t give up our fight because we truly believe in the ideal that the majority of best outcomes for patients are delivered close to home.

"The local population was never given the chance to engage in a meaningful consultation with OCCG.

"They were robbed of the opportunity to engage with the rule makers."

Read again: ‘Back to the drawing board’ on plans to downgrade Banbury's Horton Hospital says MP

Chief executive of OCCG, Louise Patten said: “We have learned much from this experience and recognise the importance of working together to understand local people’s health needs and then to plan together the services that are required to meet those needs."