Oxfordshire NHS plan 'should start again' due to bosses leaving

Joe McManners and David Smith
Image caption Dr Joe McManners and David Smith are planning to step down

Plans to redesign Oxfordshire's NHS should be halted because two top health bosses are leaving, an MP has said.

The chairman and chief executive of Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) have both announced they are stepping down.

Banbury MP Victoria Prentis wants the plans, which include controversial proposals for maternity services, stopped as a result.

But an NHS spokesperson said the process would not be affected.

OCCG chief executive David Smith will retire in December and clinical chairman Dr Joe McManners said he will not seek re-election in February.

'Start again'

Mrs Prentis has criticised plans to downgrade maternity services at the Horton General Hospital, which have also been opposed by campaigners.

Speaking in the House of Commons, she said: "I'm concerned that the architects of the transformation process will be disappearing half way through it.

"And I really, really beg that they stop the consultation process at this point, start again, regroup, and let's listen to patients."

In June, the clinical commissioning group published the findings of its consultation, which said the maternity proposals were met with an "almost universal" lack of support.

They are part of plans designed to plug a £200m shortfall by 2020-21, and a decision on the consultation options is due in August.

Dr McManners said: "There is still much to do and times are difficult, but I am confident the CCG and its health and care partners will continue to do the very best for the people of Oxfordshire."

Mr Smith added: "I am very proud to have led the CCG over these past few years and I am particularly grateful for the support which my colleagues across the organisation have given me."

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