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NHS reorganisations plans in Dorset faces legal challenge

A local patient is seeking judicial review of NHS reorganisation plans in Dorset.

The woman, who does not at present wish to be named, is a supporter of Defend Dorset NHS, which said it sought to save accident and emergency and maternity services at Poole Hospital.

It said its crowdfunding page had so far raised £3,510, sufficient to go to a merits hearing. If granted it would need £10,000 for the judicial review itself.

The group opposes Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group’s (DCCG) plans to downgrade Poole’s accident and emergency facilities, close its maternity service and close acute beds at various other hospitals.

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“The plans leave tens of thousands of Dorset residents without access to A&E and Maternity services within the 'golden hour', and will lead to the lives of many patients being unnecessarily put at risk,” it said.

The judicial review would address closures of beds before staffed replacement services were in place, travel times and what the group claimed were unlawful aspects of the consultation involved.

A statement on the DCCG website said: “We want to bring our acute hospital services up-to-date by having highly trained consultants available 24 hours, seven days a week for some services. This would mean that we need to change how we provide services across Dorset, and where appropriate, centralise some of them.

“National evidence shows that patients receive better, safer services when specialist care is centralised. This means having acute hospitals focused either on urgent and emergency care for the most seriously ill patients and life-threatening conditions, or on planned care for when people need non-urgent or routine treatment. We estimate that an extra 60 lives could be saved each year by creating separate specialist roles for our acute hospitals.”

DCCG did not respond to a request for specific comment on the proposed judicial review.

Mark Smulian

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