Beyond Oxfordshire, NHS services across the country havebeen battling a staffing crisis for a number of years. Hundreds took to the streets last Saturday to protest the state of the NHS. Growing opposition to the privatisation of cancer-scanningservices at the Churchill Hospital was exacerbated last month when it wasannounced the twelve-bed ward in Headington would temporarily close due to ashortage of NHS nurses. Acknowledging the significance of the crisis, Drew went onto say: “We have a clear workforce plan in place for the year ahead whichincludes ongoing recruitment of international nurses, a significant growth inapprentices, and continued efforts to ensure that OUH is a great place to workso that our existing staff want to stay with us. In April, Oxfordshire’s Health Overview and ScrutinyCommittee was presented with a petition, which had amassed 10,000 signatures, opposingthe plans. The belief of the petitioners is that privatisation of such serviceswould mean that the NHS would become an inferior service. Latest NHS figures show that the trust employs 5,343 staffwith just over 13% of posts being vacant. Following the meeting, the OUH Chief Executive, Dr Bruno Holthof, said: “I would like to thank the Oxfordshire HOSC for agreeing to our request to examine this issue. “Moreover, we have seen a reduction in staff turnoverrecently and we want to see that trend continue by retaining our staff andhelping them to develop and build their careers here in Oxfordshire.” Protestors also marched against the privatisation of cancer(PET-CT) scanning at the Churchill Hospital. The OUH told Cherwell that due to the decision “no changes will be made to the current PET-CT service at the Churchill Hospital while this process is ongoing.” Yet as well as the high cost of living, the OxfordUniversity Hospitals Trust, which runs the John Radcliffe and Churchillhospitals, recently revealed that amidst the growing uncertainties of Brexit, agrowing number of Spanish nurses were leaving the organisation to go home. Responding to the worsening staffing crisis, a majorexpansion and redevelopment of housing for NHS staff in Oxford is beingplanned. Health campaigners had raised concerns that more than twothirds of nursing posts were vacant by the end of May. Extremely high costs of living in Oxford have been cited asthe main barrier to attracting new staff. Under banners calling for action to Oxfordshire’s NHSstaffing crisis, protesters marched through the city centre. With the closureof Oxford’s community hospital fresh in people’s minds, the town’s access tomedical care was at the top of the list of concerns. Scanning services for cancer (PECT-CT) have been provided atthe Churchill Hospital since 2005. In a meeting between the UOH and theOxfordshire Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC), it was decidedthat the matter would be referred to the Secretary of State for Health. Last week, John Drew, Director of Improvement and Culture at Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) told Cherwell: “Recruiting and retaining staff is a challenge both for the NHS nationally and for us here in Oxfordshire.” “I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the many patients who have contacted us to say how much they value the current PET-CT service at the Churchill. We are grateful for their support and also that of our local MPs and our governors who have spoken out on this issue.” A plan, submitted to the Oxford City Council in April,involves the demolition of the original hospital accommodation and the creationof an additional 51 homes.