Dossier of horrific birth traumas demonstrates devastating service downgrade failures


Keep the Horton General campaigner says situation had led to “playing dangerously with disaster”

A collection of horrific birth experiences at the John Radcliffe Hospital has been published by a group of campaigners who want consultant-led maternity services reinstated in Banbury.

The dossier of birth traumas has been collected by the Keep the Horton General group and Beth Hopper, a mother who experienced years of heartbreaking pregnancy loss, including a devastating stillbirth.

In the document Mrs Hopper explains she was contacted by others who had awful experiences with the maternity service.   She said: “I felt a mixture of anger and despair that things hadn’t changed or improved since my own multiple traumatic experiences – rather they had worsened.   

“I decided to start collecting these stories to create a document highlighting how many women and their families, even in my own circle, had been adversely affected and traumatised as a result of the 2016 downgrading of the Horton General Hospital and the ongoing, poor quality of care at both the Horton and John Radcliffe hospitals.”

Before the Oxford University Hospitals Trust downgraded the unit to a midwife led birthing unit, maternity at the Horton had been rated as “good”.   In March this year the Care Quality Commission rated the downgraded service as “needs improvement” and commented that the service put women and babies at risk.

Speaking at the Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee meeting earlier this month, Roseanne Edwards from Keep the Horton General said: “These stories prove that the promises of safe, better childbirth at the John Radcliffe since 2016, when Banbury’s consultant led service ended, were false.

“The reality has resulted in some indescribable experiences for mothers who have been terrified, traumatised and in many cases left with PTSD.   The repeated problems show that the JR is trying to cope with far too many births for its facilities and staff. This is resulting in micro-management of deliveries that is playing dangerously with disaster.”

The Keep the Horton General group want the return of a fully staffed obstetric department at the Horton General Hospital, offering full maternity, birth care and a gynaecology service.   They also want a special care baby unit to care for premature and sick babies, like the unit that used to exist in Banbury.

In response to the release of the dossier by Keep The Horton General, Yvonne Christley, Chief Nursing Officer at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The safety and wellbeing of mothers and babies in our care is our top priority, and we sincerely apologise to any women who may not have received the expected level of care.

“We have received a document from Keep the Horton General Campaign Group, and we will be reviewing its contents.

“We encourage anyone concerned about the care they have received to get in touch by talking to the team looking after them or by contacting our complaints team. As a Trust, we want to listen, learn, and make improvements based on the feedback we receive. Our Birth Reflections Service also supports women who have had a difficult birthing experience, and we encourage any woman who requires assistance to reach out for support.”

You can read the Keep The Horton General dossier here.

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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