Campaigners still want answers to town’s ‘shambolic’ healthcare

Someone is going to die if the health provider for west Oxfordshire does not take the closure of Deer Park Medical Centre seriously.

Former patient Yvonne De Burgo says she fears for her life after having to re-register following the Edington Square surgery’s closure last March.

Speaking at a health scrutiny (HOSC) meeting last week, she said she is at the point of despair as she feels her life could be cut short by the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s (OCCG) decision to close Deer Park.

The grandmother, who has a very serious blood condition and type 2 diabetes among other things, said: “I am feeling extremely stressed, it’s not good for my conditions and I want to be here for my son and grandchildren.

“I am the only grandparent they have left, I lost my husband and eldest son within 10 weeks of each other so I am also my son’s only parent.

“I have a right to live and enjoy my life, not live on a knife-edge worrying all the time.”

Mrs De Burgo, who lives on the Deer Park estate, said her complex health conditions have deteriorated since she had to re-register at the Windrush, two miles away.

Also addressing the committee, Witney deputy mayor Brenda Churchill described health care in the town as “shambolic”, adding: “Someone is going to die before you [OCCG] take notice of patients’ plight.”

In response, Catherine Mountford, director of governance at the OCCG, said the health provider is focussing on problems facing Witney, including housing and population changes.

But she added: “We cannot continue to deliver primary care in the way it has been delivered…[and] we could not look at Witney in isolation – it is about primary care for the whole population.”

And while a health plan was published last month for the West Oxfordshire locality, Witney town and county councillor Laura Price, also a HOSC member, believes the locality plans have distracted from the seriousness of Deer Park.

Chairman of the committee Arash Fatemian said there were still important unanswered questions about Deer Park to be answered and district councillor Neil Owen accused the OCCG of ‘hiding in their bunker’.

He added: “It appears to me that there is an enormous gulf between the OCCG and the local people. This gulf is filled with mistrust and irritation because there is no meaningful engagement between the two.”

The OCCG plans to publish a ‘reader friendly’ version of the locality plan this month.

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