St Leonards Hospital, near Ringwood, is set to close after NHS Dorset CCG governing body unanimously agreed the Clinical Services Review proposals.
Among other controversial decisions, the main Accident and Emergency hospital in the east of the county will be the Royal Bournemouth hospital, with an urgent care centre at Poole hospital to deal with less life-threatening injuries and planned care. As well as losing its A&E, Poole’s maternity and paediatrics services will be axed, and will transfer to Bournemouth. Thousands of people sent in objections to the proposals and angry protesters had gathered with placards, but it made no difference to the final decision, said to be necessary to save the £158m shortfall in funding in the county by 2021.
Dorset County hospital in Dorchester would remain a district general hospital with the most seriously ill or injured patients transferred to Bournemouth.
The decision was made at a meeting in Dorchester on 20 September.
Jacqueline Moss, chair of the Friends of St Leonards, said, “We have just heard that we have lost our battle to save our hospital at St Leonards. We had fought long and hard and it will close in about 18 months. This is a sad day for us all who live in the area because I, along with the Friends and all the nurses and staff, know it will all end in tears and people are not going to get the care that they need.”
There are currently 13 community hospitals in Dorset, which provide services like scanning, x-rays, and outpatient appointments with 40-50% of space not being used. It was decided 12 community hubs across Dorset would offer a range of outpatient services, such as for tests and scans.
The community hubs with beds are expected to be located in the Royal Bournemouth hospital or Poole, then Wimborne, Bridport, Blandford, Shaftesbury Sherborne, Swanage, and Weymouth hospitals. It is said the total number of community beds would increase by around 70.
Also in the proposals, the community hubs without beds would be located in Christchurch, Dorchester, Portland and Wareham.
Alderney, Westhaven and St Leonards hospitals will not be used as community hubs and services based there are to be moved to other locations. Proposals for the future of mental health beds that are currently in Westhaven and Alderney hospitals are currently being reviewed in separate consultations.
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