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Report from District Councillor for January 2024

on Sun, 21/01/2024 - 12:00am

Report from District Councillor for January 2024


By the time that you read this I hope that the 11-week-long flood near Mellor’s will have been fixed (the under-road culvert carrying Childrey Brook will be unblocked completely and roadside drainage and ditches will have been cleared out. At least two people pointed out the potential problems at this site in the last few years to the county council and someone said that it was only really done well last in 1949.The flooding led to extensive business loss by Mellor’s and other small companies on the W&G. I am really concerned about how potential problems like this should be reported if warning messages go ignored?? The improved drainage on the A417 near Haynes has also been far from perfect. I will be discussing future arrangements with the District and County once the current mess (blocked culvert and ditches, silt on road and road surface repair) has been cleared up.


County Councillor

I have no further news on our county councillor, Yvonne Constance’s health. In her absence, CCllr Bethia Thomas [email protected], who covers Faringdon, will deal with county issues.


Recycling talk

A talk will take place on February 26th on Waste and Recycling by Vale of Whitehorse District Council Waste and Recycling Officer, Clara Legallais-Moha. This will take place at 7pm in East Challow Village Hall.

This should be an interesting talk as so many of us are confused as to what can and what cannot be recycled, what happens to it all after it leaves your bin and how the guidance has changed. This talk is open to all the seven villages in the ward so make sure you get there in good time for a seat!


Childrey Way

The surfacing of Childrey Way between Cornhill Farm and Silver Lane (Whiteland’s Rd.) is now complete – looks nice! There are also two large bollards at the Silver Lane entrance to prevent motor traffic using it as a cut-through. Access to the Farm is via East Challow. The stretch from the road to Childrey has also been cleared and cut by Highways (it is a Bridleway and had become much too narrow.


Wantage Hospital - update

A public meeting was held on January 11th to discuss the options for the future of Wantage Hospital. A presentation was made by Dr. Dan Leveson, Oxford Lead on the Bucks, Oxon, West Berks Integrated Care Board (ICB) and Dr. Ben Riley of Oxford Health. The presentation included the preferred option of an expanded range of out-patient clinics together with the prospect of additional services sometime in the future including a minor injuries unit and improved end-of-life care. The ground floor of the hospital will need refurbishment and Wantage housing development (CIL=Community Infrastructure Levy) money (ca. £600K) is available for health and will be used for this purpose.

Long term changes to National Policy mean that community beds are required much less than previously and the in-patient beds at Wantage will finally go. There is a huge clinical literature (some of which I have read) which shows that discharge from hospital to residents’ own homes (with appropriate support!) results in faster recovery than if they stayed in bed. As might be expected the discussion was lively but indicated that few had read the detailed report (to be honest it is 32 pages long).

This was then discussed again the next evening by Wantage Town Council Health Sub-Committee and afterwards by Wantage Town Council. All this was necessary because HOSC (county health scrutiny committee) has been monitoring these arguments closely and had to decide on whether the loss of the in-patient beds, whether there has been sufficient public engagement and whether this will all result in improved health care, is regarded as a substantial and unsatisfactory change. If the co-production had been regarded as unsatisfactory and the changes regarded as substantial, HOSC could have referred to the Secretary of State but this could delay the changes and the CIL money could be lost. On Tuesday 16th HOSC made the decision not to refer to the Secretary of State. Oxford Health will now apply for the CIL money to take the refurbishment ahead with services expected to be in place by Spring/Summer 2025.

There was also a recommendation to the NHS partners for a commitment by the ICB and Oxford Health to continued co-production leading to improved services in the future including a minor injuries unit and improved palliative care.


Support for People Leaving Hospital

A comprehensive summary was also presented at HOSC on the 16th of the plans for the reduction in short-stay beds where historically patients were frequently discharged from hospital. There is extensive clinical literature, some of which I have read, showing that recovery is faster and improved if patients recuperate in their own homes rather than in hospital beds. This is now national policy and has started to be rolled out in Oxfordshire from this month. Clearly, appropriate support following discharge home is vital and was the subject of extensive questioning. HOSC and Healthwatch Oxfordshire will continue to monitor this development.


Review of Primary Care

We all know how difficult it is for us to get a GP appointment. A proportion of GPs are part-time. A number do private work. So how many FTE (Full Time Equivalent) GPs do we have at Mably Way with our growing population???? We need to understand what is happening but even then, things may not change as quickly as we would like. What is at the bottom of what has become an unsatisfactory service in the last few years? At least the ICB understands that Primary Care (mainly GPs but also dentistry, pharmacies and optometry - eye care) needs to improve.

The ICB has launched the ‘Primary Care Conversation’ asking the public to share their views on primary care services via an online survey which can be found here  and is open until 31 January 2024.  Your views will inform the strategy they are developing.

See for more detail.


Cllr Dr Paul Barrow

Ridgeway Ward


[email protected]