Health bosses vote in favour of changes to Dorset’s NHS services

Campaigners outside the Dorford Centre yesterday

THE Linden Unit in Weymouth is to close, maternity and paediatrics in the west of the county will be shared between Dorset County Hospital (DCH) and Yeovil District Hospital (YDH), and the major emergency hospital for Dorset will be at Bournemouth, after health bosses approved changes for services in the county.

Members of Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) governing body unanimously agreed all the recommendations set out in the CCG’s Clinical Services Review, which included making (DCH) the planned and emergency hospital, Bridport Hospital becoming a community hub with beds and for Poole Hospital’s maternity and A&E facilities to be transferred to Bournemouth.

Campaigners gathered at the Dorford Centre in Dorchester yesterday (Wednesday, September 19th) as board members met to make the final decisions on the future of healthcare in Dorset.

Westhaven Hospital will close once staff and services are transferred to Weymouth Community Hospital and the 15 beds from the Linden Unit will be relocated to St Ann’s Hospital in Poole, but four new beds will be located at Forston Clinic.

It was also agreed to have a community hub without beds on Portland, but this may not be at the current Portland Hospital.

Although maternity and paediatric services at DCH are not being transferred to the east of the county, it is still unknown which services will be based at DCH or YDH, with more consultation on these plans expected to take place.

Despite this, Patricia Miller, chief executive at DCH, said that the hospital “absolutely supports the changes”.

She said: “To be able to continue to provide our services is critical.

“We absolutely support the recommendation to work more closely with Yeovil.

“It makes sense that we work together to provide good services in one cooperative way.”

DCH NHS Foundation Trust also welcomed the option to work with YDH, in order to “provide a sustainable and safe service for women and children”.

A spokesperson said: “Our consultant paediatricians and obstetricians will continue to work with their colleagues in Yeovil on the best possible solution for the local population.

“Any proposed changes to services in either hospital would be subject to further local public consultation by both Dorset and Somerset CCGs as appropriate.”

A spokesperson for the South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust (SWASFT) said the service was “confident that the proposals will have minimal impact on the delivery of emergency ambulance services across Dorset”.

They said: “We are also confident that patients with time critical and life threatening conditions will be able to reach the best hospital to meet their needs within a clinically safe time.

“We also completely welcome the community hub proposals, which will help us better manage over half the patients that call 999 for an ambulance in Dorset, that don’t need to be conveyed to hospital.”

Concerns have been raised that the review was a stepping stone towards privatisation, but Tim Goodson, chief officer of Dorset CCG, said that has never been the case.

He said: “The clinical services review for the outset has been NHS led, its been the NHS clinicians and mangers that have really been at the forefront of this.

“Its not been a process we have gone through that we have been engaging with the private sector, that hasn’t been the focus of this review at all.

“It has probably been misrepresented that it has been, I assure you this has all been about Dorset’s NHS and the future of Dorset’s NHS services.”

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Bridport & Beaminster Reporter| Lottie is currently studying for an NCTJ Diploma in Journalism through a distance learning course and joined the paper in April 2014 on a freelance basis, becoming a staff reporter in January 2015. She is now the reporter for the View From Bridport and View From Beaminster papers.