OXFORDSHIRE health bosses have admitted they must ‘learn from experience’ following the heavily criticised first phase of a major overhaul of the county’s health services.

Phase one of the contentious Oxfordshire Transformation Plan, overseen by the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) resulted in the permanent downgrading of maternity services at the Horton General Hospital in Banbury among a host of other measures including centralising acute stroke services, closing 36 acute beds, and reducing the level of critical care at the hospital.

Today local NHS chiefs have conceded they must now move forward with the overhaul in a ‘very different manner’.

A joint statement from system leaders across the NHS in Oxfordshire said: “The NHS has reflected on the experience of running phase one of the Oxfordshire Transformation Programme.

“We understand that we need to learn from the experience and approach the improvement of local services in a very different manner.”

The statement also referenced a recent review of Oxfordshire’s health services by national watchdog, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which slammed the lack of any cohesive plan or strategy between the health and social care sectors.

The statement continued: “We understand that the best service improvements are those where patients, the wider public and key stakeholders (including local authorities, the voluntary sector and our social care partners) work together to co-design services based upon the health and care needs of the local population.

“We need to break down organisational barriers and work in a much more integrated way to improve care for residents and patients in Oxfordshire.

“We therefore recognise the need to progress with the next phase in a very different way.

“We need to listen to local people and understand better at local level how to work in a more integrated way to improve care for residents and patients in Oxfordshire.”

NHS bosses have said they will now look to create one ‘over-arching’ strategy across the board.

Details of how the health services will engage with the public to develop the health and social care system will be revealed in the coming weeks.

Campaigners, councils and MPs united in their criticism of the first phase of the transformation plan last year after the decision to downgrade the maternity service at the Horton General to mid wife-led.

The mass Oxfordshire health overhaul is now currently in limbo after decisions made in the first phase were referred to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Mr Hunt is to decide if a government review is needed.

Oxfordshire CCG has been working with six others in Buckinghamshire and Berkshire West to produce a tri-county plan to overhaul the way the NHS is delivered across the area.

It aims to address the needs of an ageing population and staffing issues and avoid a £2.5bn black hole in the budget by 2020/21.