Dorset CCG health roadshow cancelled over protest
A roadshow event to discuss healthcare changes in Dorset has been cancelled due to a proposed protest by families.
Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is visiting communities as it develops proposals for health services.
Families campaigning to protect maternity and paediatric services had planned a protest picnic in Dorchester on Saturday, when the roadshow was due to visit a Gypsy and traveller event.
The CCG said it cancelled "out of respect" to the traveller community.
A statement said: "We have made the difficult decision to withdraw our attendance from the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Day in the Borough Gardens, Dorchester, on Saturday.
"The decision has been made out of respect for both the event organisers and the Gypsy, Roma and traveller community following recent activity in the media and online encouraging people to attend a protest picnic against the CCG.
"We felt this activity could move the focus of the event, which has become an established part of the calendar and an enjoyable day out for many people over the years.
"Members of the team will continue to engage with the Gypsy, Roma and traveller communities using other channels."
A statement by Save SCBU, Kingfisher and Maternity at Dorset County Hospital read: "We have decided to take the decision to cancel the picnic this Saturday as the CCG will no longer be present at Borough Gardens.
"We feel this is a real shame as it was only ever going to be a peaceful picnic and we would never disrespect the travelling community as the CCG has suggested."
The statement, published on the group's Facebook page, urged supporters to continue attending future protests and public consultations about the CCG's plans.
Maternity and paediatric services at Dorset County Hospital are among those to be reviewed in a planned-shake-up of NHS provision in Dorset.