Dorset

Dorset County Hospital protest attracts hundreds

Protestors on New Street in Dorchester
Image caption The march saw protesters gathering on New Street in Dorchester

About a thousand campaigners against proposals to reduce children's services at Dorset County Hospital have taken part in a march through Dorchester.

A Facebook campaign to save the Kingfisher Ward and the special care baby unit has already collected more than 5,000 signatures.

The plans are part of a wider review of the county's hospitals.

NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said decisions had not yet been finalised.

It said future paediatric services would "provide safe, high-quality care, at the right time for all children across the county".

Image caption Campaigners are against proposed changes to children's services at Dorset County Hospital

Campaigner Naomi Patterson described it as a "very important" cause.

Her son George suffered brain damage as a result of meningitis and often needs emergency care at Dorset County Hospital for epilepsy.

She moved from Weymouth to Dorchester to be closer to the hospital and fears travelling further afield could affect his care.

Image caption Protestor Naomi Patterson described it as a "very important" cause

The march from Top O' Town roundabout to Borough Gardens in Dorchester, also included a minute's applause in memory of eight-year-old Bradley Webber who was treated at the Kingfisher Ward.

Proposals could also include reducing the hours an A&E consultant is present at Dorset County Hospital, as well as developing major services in Bournemouth and Poole.

A public consultation on the plans is due to start in August.

Image copyright Nigel Mykura
Image caption Proposals could also include reducing the hours an A&E consultant is present at Dorset County Hospital

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