Dorset

Dorset NHS shake-up legal bid hearing granted

Protesters outside Poole council offices
Image caption Several protests have been held opposing the clinical services review

Campaigners fighting the reorganisation of hospital services are to have their latest legal challenge considered by the Court of Appeal.

Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has begun a shake-up, including shutting Poole's A&E, after winning a judicial review in July.

The plans are currently being reviewed by the health secretary.

Defend Dorset NHS launched a second legal challenge against the plans in September.

It said it had been granted a hearing at the Court of Appeal but had not yet received a date.

Dorset CCG's chief officer Tim Goodson said: "This means that if the judge decides there is enough merit in the case to grant an appeal, it will follow immediately, reducing disruption to both parties."

Under the CCG Clinical Services Review, Poole's A&E, maternity and paediatric services will be lost to Bournemouth, which will become the area's main emergency hospital.

Poole is set to become a centre for planned treatment and operations.

The shake-up aims to avoid a projected funding shortfall of at least £158m a year by 2021.

Image caption Defend Dorset NHS crowdfunded the initial challenge

Changes to mental health acute care include the closure and relocation of beds at Weymouth's Linden unit and the creation of extra inpatient beds at St Ann's Hospital in Poole and Forston Clinic near Dorchester.

Beds at Portland Hospital have already been closed.

Campaign group Defend Dorset NHS, which has raised more than £21,000 in its legal bid, has argued travel times from areas like Swanage would be too great if the changes go ahead.

Three High Court judges will look again the group's case. In July last year it failed in a judicial review of the plans.

Dorset CCG previously said the latest appeal was "disappointing" and would be a further cost to NHS and legal aid budgets.

A date for the hearing has not yet been set.

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