Dorset

Dorset baby unit hospital changes opposed

Dorset County Hospital Image copyright Google
Image caption More than 25,000 people have signed petitions against the closure of Kingfisher children's ward in Dorchester

Plans to cut children's hospital services in Dorchester and create a premature baby unit in east Dorset have been met with strong opposition.

The proposal formed part of a public consultation by Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) into a shake-up of health services in the county.

The plans have been criticised by opponents as "perverse logic".

CCG chief officer Tim Goodson said all the responses to the consultation would be considered.

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The consultation took into account 18,500 questionnaires, 2,000 people at drop-in sessions, 1,000 people interviewed over the phone and some paid focus groups.

The most contentious element - to create a single special care baby unit (SCBU) covering the whole county for premature babies - was rejected by two-thirds of people.

'Strength of feeling'

More than 25,000 people have already signed petitions against the closure of Kingfisher children's ward at Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester.

Another proposal to offer planned care from a single hospital and emergency care at another was supported by half the respondents but people were split over whether the A&E should be at Bournemouth or at Poole.

Councillor Alan Gordon of Crossways parish, near Dorchester, said: "This is part of a long succession of financial cuts to the health service and it's about time these cuts were reversed. This is perverse logic and what we should be thinking about is funding the health service properly."

CCG chief officer Tim Goodson said: "We want to consider all the responses we've had and the strength of feeling by members of the public, not just on the paediatrics and SCBU issue but some of the community issues and around the acute care stuff."

A final decision on the proposals will be made later this year.

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