CAMPAIGNERS are delighted with plans that could see west Dorset retain hospital services following a major public campaign organised by Naomi Patterson, whose son requires regular hospital visits at Dorset County Hospital's Kingfisher Ward. The campaign is widely supported by the public backed by Dorset Socialists, Dorset Branch CPB, Dorset Peoples Assembly,Dorset Green Party and the Echo.

It comes after health chiefs revealed their recommendations for the biggest shake-up of services in a generation after months of campaigning and consultation.

Recommendations were made a week ahead of a meeting where the NHS Dorset CCG governing body will meet to make final decisions on its controversial Clinical Services Review which aims to plug a £158 million projected deficit by 2020.

Dorset County Hospital will remain as both an emergency and planned site with health bosses conceding a maternity and paediatrics unit should now remain for patients in the west of the county.

It comes following a successful campaign to Save Kingfisher Ward with new options to be considered by both the Dorchester-based hospital and Yeovil District Hospital under new proposals which will go out for a second public consultation. This is instead of a move of centralising services in the east of the county.

Delighted hospital campaigner Naomi Patterson said: “This is great news and shows the CCG recognises what we have been saying.

“Our campaign aimed to demonstrate that it was vital to have paediatric-led services in the west of the county and I am massively proud they have listened to us. If it wasn’t for our campaign group teaming up with the Dorset Echo to highlight this issue we would be seeing services going to the east.”

She added: “We now want to know what will happen with options for Yeovil and DCH. I’d like to see people get together to have the best possible outcome for everyone.”

Royal Bournemouth Hospital (RBH) is still the preferred major emergency centre which would leave Poole Hospital with no A&E but a 24/7 urgent care centre. This would mean Poole’s maternity and paediatric services would move to RBH.

Dorset CCG chief officer Tim Goodson said: “We think this will secure a great future for all three of our acute hospitals. There will remain 24/7 urgent care facilities on all three. We did some further travel analysis but should emphasise we are trying to promote less travel to the acute sites by doing more in the community hubs by creating more alternatives to urgent care and extending GP access as well.

“We are very confident this is the right course action to take. We think it will save lives and create better outcomes.”

Many beds have been saved in community hospitals due to successful campaigns including at Westhaven Hospital in Weymouth until ‘a sustainable model for future services’ is established.

Other community hubs with beds are set to be located at Weymouth Hospital as well as Bridport, Swanage and Sherborne.

Community care hubs without beds are set for Portland.

Despite opposition, recommendations remain to close Alderney Hospital in Poole and St Leonards Hospital in Ferndown, which means that campaigners for keeping all our NHS services will still be active. 

This is an edited version of an article published in the Dorset Echo, Thursday 14th September 2017