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Health officials defend plans to move services from Bridport Hospital

Bridport Hospital

Published at 7:35am 8th March 2019.

Health officials have stressed that moving services from Bridport Hospital to Dorchester and Blandford is not about saving money and does not put the community hospital at any risk.

A meeting in Dorchester heard on Thursday that, in time, more services are likely to be offered at the hospital.

The county council’s health scrutiny committee heard on Thursday that more patients could be seen because of the move to Dorchester while a more frequent service for those needing epidural pain relief could be offered from Blandford.

'Concerns over transport'

Divisional Manager at Dorset County Hospital , Sophie Jordan, told the committee that between 30 and 35 people had turned up at a public consultation meeting in Bridport on Tuesday March 5th. She said that most were concerned about transport to and from appointments but, she said, most were reassured about the changes.

She also revealed that an apology had been made to one hospital governor for the late notification about a meeting to discuss the proposed changes.

Doctor medical

Some local councillors have been critical of the move – claiming that patients,especially those who are frail, will find it difficult to get to either Dorchester or Blandford.

But Ms Jordan says all patients affected will be offered help, if they need it, in finding suitable transport and the voluntary driver service is prepared to take extra people to appointments.

“This is not for financial reasons, It is about having a specialist team on the Dorset County Hospital site where they can be supported and see more patients,” she said.

It is estimated that the move will allow up to an extra 20 colonoscopy patients to be seen each month. She said that freeing up the space at Bridport would allow more services to be offered locally, in the future: “We will be able to make better use of the space and see more patients,” she said.

'No changes to other services'

The meeting heard that there were no proposals to make changes to other services at Bridport including outpatient physio’ for around 1,300.

General surgery and vasectomy services will continue at Bridport Hospital, run by Dorset HealthCare, alongside a range of other outpatient procedures.

Dorset HealthCare also plans to relocate the Musculo-Skeletal (MSK) service list from Bridport to Blandford and claims this will make it more accessible to more patients as the service is used by people from across the county and is used by around 90 patients a year. At the moment the Bridport list only operates monthly, but at Blandford, can be run weekly.

A second public consultation event is planned for Wednesday March 20th from 6-8pm although a location has yet to be confirmed.

By Trevor Bevins, Local Democracy Reporter

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