A week or so ago, a judge gave permission for a full hearing of Defend Dorset NHS’s Judicial Review of Dorset Sustainability and Transformation Plan hospital bed cuts, Poole A&E downgrade and closure of Poole maternity services.
The grounds for the Judicial Review are that:
- Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group plans to close and cut hospital beds before staffed replacement services are in place.
- There would be unsafe travel times to access A&E and Maternity services.
- Aspects of the ‘consultation’ carried out on these changes were so misleading as to render the consultation unlawful.
A patient, supported by Defend Dorset NHS, and represented by Leigh Day Solicitors, is seeking Judicial Review of Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group’s plans to downgrade Poole A&E, close Poole Maternity, close 245 Acute Hospital Beds, and Community Hospital beds in 5 of 13 Dorset areas.
Defend Dorset NHS works to protect the rights of Dorset residents and visitors to have timely access to Emergency and Maternity services, and to NHS beds, when they need these.
They are crowdfunding to cover the costs and still need another £5,640 with 22 days left to raise it.
Defend Dorset NHS say
“Please support our campaign! Stand with us against these dangerous and ill thought out cuts to our NHS”
Why does this case matter?
Dorset is at the forefront of cuts, which are planned across the NHS in England. A successful challenge there is likely to have repercussions for cuts in other areas.
Unsafe travel times
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.
Following the downgrading of Dorset county’s Special Care Baby Unit, we only have one Dorset Neo Natal Unit for births under 32 weeks and it is at Poole. Journey times are crucial in maternity emergency, and yet this unit is scheduled to move from Poole to Bournemouth Hospital.
Shortage of beds
Dorset is forecast to need 2467 acute beds, and we have just 1810. Yet the CCG’s plan is to REDUCE existing acute beds to 1632, only 2/3 of what we are forecast to need. Emergency and Maternity services cannot operate if there are no beds available.
Community Hospital beds for rehabilitation, palliative care, or dementia support, will also be lost at Ferndown, Wareham, Portland, Alderney and Westhaven Community Hospitals.
Around the UK there is little evidence to suggest that ‘replacement services’ in the community have reduced demand for beds to 2/3 of forecast need. We do not know what the Dorset replacement services will be, or how they will be funded, or staffed.
Dorset County Maternity and Paediatrics
Dorset County Maternity & Paediatrics are also at risk. The CCG said recently that they AIM to maintain these, but this is not guaranteed. If Dorset County Maternity is closed, Dorset will have lost 2/3 of its Maternity services, leaving only one Maternity remaining, in the far East of the County.