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'No change' to maternity and children's services

Dorset County Hospital 1

(Updated 9:25am 14th September 2017)

4:08pm 13th September 2017

Maternity and paediatric services should not be moved from Dorset County Hospital to the East of the county - that is the recommendation that will be put forward by the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group next week as final decisions on our NHS shake-up are made.

The CCG has today published its recommendations for how healthcare is delivered in the county. It will put these forward for a final decision next Wednesday 20th September.

The plan is for current maternity and children's provision to remain as it is for now, with services integrated across Dorchester and Yeovil hospitals in the future. It was the most contentious aspects of the review, with 27,000 mums, dads and supporters petitioning against the closure of DCH's Kingfisher ward.

GP Forbes Watson, chair of the Dorset CCG said this recommendation shows they've listened to these concerns:

"The future plan is for Dorset County hospital to continue its discussions with Yeovil District Hospital to come up with a solution for the West. Until that solution is found the status quo will continue.

"No decision has been made and it won't be made until Wednesday. But our recommendation is to have consultant-led maternity services in the west of the county.

"I think it's good news and I think it shows that we have very carefully taken account of the consultation exercise."

There will be a further consultation if the Dorset and Somerset CCGs can come up with a workable plan to combine services.

The Kingfisher group were praised for their active involvement in the process and it is hoped they will continue to be involved and feed their ideas into the future of the service.

Some 18,500 people responded to the public consultation, which the CCG said is necessary as without something being done, Dorset's would rapidly head toward a deficit of £158m by 2020/21.

The savings will be made by around 25% fewer patients being treated in urgent and emergency beds. Instead, the plan is for there to be a shift towards more urgent-care provision within the community, including GPs being available at weekends and the 111 service being able to provide more and better options for treatment in a patient's locality. Many A&E visitors currently only require minor treatment - the aim is to provide a 'superhub' with enhanced urgent care facilities at Bournemouth, with specialist and urgent care provided in community hubs.

Chief officer of the CCG Tim Goodson said that although bed numbers naturally fluctuate, there will be around 100 less acute beds available, but that is because more treated will be treated in these enhanced community facilities.

Other recommendations include Poole Hospital's A&E department closing, but it will still provide an urgent care service. Along with Bournemouth A&E, Dorset County Hospital will still provide emergency care.

South Western Ambulance was consulted in the review, particularly in response to people's concerns over travel times and congestion. They are not concerned about the changes and say that they will only need 'half an ambulance more'.

Planning based on decisions made on Wednesday will begin straight away.

The review began in 2014 and has cost around £4m so far, with between £100 - £150,000 being spent on this public consultation.

The CCG's recommendations are published today on their website.

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