'Major' Dorset hospital and care changes to be unveiled

Victoria Hospital in Wimborne Image copyright Google
Image caption Wimborne's Victoria Hospital could be developed into a community hub

Major changes to hospitals and community care services in Dorset are due to be unveiled next week.

The Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) plans aim to tackle a projected funding gap of £158m a year by 2020 and care for a growing, ageing population.

Proposals to replace community hospitals with hubs and to make Bournemouth the county's main A&E hospital have already been tabled.

The plans will be available at the start of a consultation on 1 December.

CCG chairman Dr Forbes Watson said: "We would like to reassure people that their views will be listened to and nothing will be decided until we have gathered the opinions of local people and final proposals have been agreed by the CCG governing body."

Among the proposals being considered as part of the Clinical Services Review (CSR) is the closure of community hospitals in Weymouth, St Leonards, Portland, Wareham and Shaftesbury.

These would be replaced by care "hubs", which the CCG said would allow patients to be treated closer to home.

In May, it was revealed that Royal Bournemouth Hospital had been earmarked to become the main emergency hospital for Dorset, with Poole set to specialise in planned operations.

Changes to the premature baby unit at Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester were also included in the plans.

The consultation on the five-year transformation plan will continue until 28 February.

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