CAMPAIGNERS fighting to protect services at Dorset County Hospital have endorsed the 'have your say' message, calling for people to speak out about how important the Dorchester hospital is to them and their families.

Thousands of you signed a Bridport News petition to urge the CCG to protect children and baby services at DCH.

The proposals going out to consultation include a shake-up of acute hospital services in Dorset, which would see the Royal Bournemouth Hospital designated a major emergency care hospital and Poole Hospital a major planned hospital with an 24-hour urgent care centre.

Dorset County Hospital would be a planned and emergency care hospital, with the CCG claiming the services it provides would remain "broadly similar".

No preferred option has been set out for the future of paediatric services and maternity services at Dorset County Hospital, with ongoing discussions taking place between the Dorchester hospital and Yeovil District Hospital regarding the possible integration of services.

Another option is integrating services with those in the east of the county.

Members of the public are still being encouraged to share their views on the matter during the consultation.

Concerned families who have come to rely on the Kingfisher children's ward at Dorset County Hospital have spent months campaigning for services to remain.

Dorchester mum Naomi Patterson said: "The campaign has been going for 20 months now, trying to get everybody ready for the public consultation.

"If people don't turn up the CCG will take it that as everyone is happy with their plans.

"We need people to come out and speak out."

Dorset CCG chief officer Tim Goodson said he wanted people to spend some time looking at the consultation document and feedback any views they had about what is being put forward.

He said: "We want to hear from as many people as we can.

"There has been so much stuff out there we really would like people to read the consultation document."

The review was launched in the light of growing pressures on NHS services in Dorset, with an ever increasing elderly population, problems with recruiting a sufficient workforce and a projected funding gap of £158million by 2020.

CCG chairman Dr Forbes Watson said that all the work done so far been endorsed by NHS England and he hoped that a strong turnout for the consultation would further strengthen the process.

He said: "The more people take part the better informed decision it will be, that's what we want."

A specialist company will spend up to three months analysing the results of the consultation when it finishes at the end of February and that will inform a set of proposals that will be likely to be considered for a decision late next year.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

Drop-in events explain CCG plans

THE CCG says it is trying to make the consultation accessible to everyone as it looks to get views from as many people as possible.

It has planned a series of public consultation drop-in events, which will give the people the opportunity to come and watch a short video about the proposals, ask any questions and share their views.

A series of pop-up events will also be announced at various locations with high footfall.

The CCG has printed off 75,000 copies of the consultation document, which will be made available at GP surgeries across the county as well as at the county’s three acute hospitals and 13 community hospitals. Copies can also be requested by emailing or calling 01202 541946.

Running alongside this there will be a social media campaign and the CCG has redesigned its website at to make it easier for people to find information.

The 15 planned public consultation drop-in events include one at Weymouth Pavilion from 2pm to 8pm on Tuesday, January 3 and at Bridport Town Hall from 2pm to 8pm on Monday, January 9.

A further session is planned at the Dorford Centre in Dorchester on Thursday, January 12 from 2pm to 8pm and on Tuesday, January 24 there will be an event at Easton Methodist Church on Portland from 2.30pm to 8pm.

The consultation will also cover the CCG’s proposals on the future of community hospitals.

A move to an integrated community services model is being proposed that would see the number of sites with beds reduced from 13 to seven.

Community hubs with beds will be located at Weymouth Community Hospital, Bridport, Wimborne, Blandford, Sherborne, Swanage and at the major planned hospital at Poole.

Community hubs without beds will be at Shaftesbury, Christchurch, Portland and Wareham, with some community services provided at Dorset County Hospital.

That would leave Alderny, St Leonards and Westhaven hospitals facing possible closures, although the CCG says that that will depend on a separate review of dementia services and the outcomes of a review of mental health services, which will go out to a separate consultation in the New Year.

The Clinical Services Review does not cover future proposals for primary care.

The CCG recently published a blueprint proposing a potential model for the future of GP services in the county but this is not part of the consultation and is still at an early stage in discussions.