A healthcare shake-up for Dorset will be a two-way street according to governors.

At a council of governors meeting at Dorset County Hospital (DCH), governors said although some patients from West Dorset would be forced to travel further for specialist services, the same could be said for residents in Bournemouth and Poole.

The comments came after the issue of increased travel times was raised by governor Michel Hooper-Immins.

Mr Hooper-Immins said: “A substantial number of our patients, a predicted five per cent, will have to go to Bournemouth.”

Mr Hooper-Immins said in correspondence with the assistant clinical chair of Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (DCCG), Dr Karen Kirkham had said it was likely that five per cent of cases utilising more specialised services would have to travel to the east.

He added the executive team needed to be honest with patients.

However, chief executive Patricia Miller said the team had not created detailed service models to make those predictions.

“That may be Karen’s assumption, but the work has not been done. We will be honest with patients, but we do not have the information,” she said.

Governor Les Fry said he did not see specialist care provision in Bournemouth as a problem.

“If it’s the case that you are offered better care or more local care, I know I want better care. It’s specialised services and we can’t treat everyone here,” he said.

Julie Pearce, chief operating officer at DCH Foundation Trust added many patients needing specialised treatment already travelled to Bournemouth.

Mrs Pearce added Dorchester was the leading site in the county for renal care and although patients could receive dialysis at hubs across Dorset, anyone needing inpatient renal care would be transferred to DCH.

DCH NHS Foundation Trust chairman, Mark Addison said once the new state-of-the-art cancer unit opens, the trust will be at the forefront of cancer treatment services.

“It’s a huge development for the people of Dorset and will create a flow in the other direction,” he said.

The unit is hoped to significantly reduce the journey time that people in the north, south and west of the county and Mr Fry said it was not ‘just one-way traffic going to Bournemouth."

Governor Tracey Glen said: “We can’t afford to buy all the specialist equipment needed for every department and it would quickly blow the budget.”

She added she supported the proposals, but the trust needed to ensure patients receiving specialist care in Bournemouth received adequate support with travel and ‘help to get there.’