Campaigners lose High Court fight against Dorset service reorganisation

Campaigners have lost their High Court bid to put a stop to a proposed reorganisation to Dorset’s healthcare services.

In a statement, Dorset CCG said it was pleased with the judge’s decision to rule in favour of its plans to move ahead with the service shake-up.

A legal challenge had been brought forward by Anna Hinsull, a Swanage resident, as part of an ongoing campaign by Defend Dorset NHS against plans to move A&E services from Poole.

But the High Court is satisfied that Dorset CCG has taken into consideration everything it was required to during the Clinical Services Review (CSR) and consultation process.

Tim Goodson, the clinical commissioning group’s chief officer said: “We hope that the High Court’s decision will reassure local people that the CCG has acted properly and in the interests of healthcare services in Dorset.

“The CSR and consultation established that we need to change the way local services are delivered in order to secure better outcomes for patients and affordable healthcare for now and the future.”

Goodson also pointed out the “considerable cost” that the judicial review has incurred, despite accepting that it was a “right and proper” process.

“The High Court decision will now allow the planned improvements to health and care services in Dorset to be implemented without unnecessary delay or additional legal costs,” he added.

“We will continue to work closely with our partner NHS and local authority organisations to ensure that the improvements bring about patient benefits and save more lives.”

Campaigners said they were “very shocked” to hear the news and claimed that they repeatedly witnessed the CCG “being unable to respond to genuine concerns that were raised” in the court hearing.

They noted that the judgement “does nothing to address the clinical risk to Dorset residents of having to travel further in an emergency,” and argued that the 180 people who go to Poole A&E by ambulance per year are at risk of dying as a result of the reshuffle.

Protesters now have 21 days to consider whether to appeal. They will be speaking to their QC this Friday, and will also take into consideration the health of the claimant, which is now “significantly worse than it was” when this process was started last autumn.

Despite public concern, the CCG said that the changes will trigger a £147m investment in acute hospital services, provide more services closer to people’s homes, and open up new ways of working for NHS and social care staff that better harnesses their skills.

(Top image c. Lorraine and Keith Bowdler)


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