Following the Clinical Services Review (CSR) by NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the former Dorset County Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee made a referral to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in November 2018.
The referral reflected the concern over plans to relocate A&E and Maternity Services from Poole General Hospital to Royal Bournemouth Hospital, along with further concerns over planned changes to community hospitals and community health services across the county. The referral focussed on the capacity of ambulance and community services and their abilities to cope with demand arising from those changes.
The Secretary of State has now responded by letter to Dorset Council regarding the referral. It states that he has requested ‘initial advice’ from the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP). This is a national body set up to review proposals for major changes to health services where there are concerns about the safety and/or value of those changes. The Secretary of State has given the IRP specific aspects of the referral to investigate. These include in particular the matters raised by Dorset Health Scrutiny Committee and matters relating to the future vision for the NHS and the extent to which Dorset CCG’s proposals align with that vision.
It is hoped that this will provide some reassurance to residents and we await the outcome.