LOCAL MPs have vowed to take action to safeguard the future of Poole Hospital following a private meeting with the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt.

Annette Brooke, the Liberal Democrat MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, is concerned about the hospital which faces an estimated £8m deficit by 2015.

She said: “Hospital bosses regarded the merger as essential to sort out their financial problems.

“I feel so angry that we have been through a merger process which was not as open and transparent as I would have liked it to have been, and that £5m has been spent on resources that didn’t lead anywhere.”

Ms Brooke, who was joined by fellow Dorset MPs Christopher Chope, Conor Burns and Robert Syms, said it was a useful discussion.

“Although it didn’t lead to any firm conclusions, we did learn that the minister has no influence over the Competitions Commission decision, so we intend to work together at a local level.

“One of our first tasks is to make contact with the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group, which was still very new when the merger was underway.

“Jeremy Hunt pointed out that any deficit was something the DCCG will have to manage.”

The MP also revealed she had recently witnessed first-hand the pressures on Poole’s emergency services.

“I had to attend A&E with a family member and it was a shock as it was absolutely packed, but it is the same story in hospitals across the country.”

But Ms Brooke added: “We will do everything we can to make sure our excellent hospital in Poole is retained.”

The Clinical Commissioning Group

A spokesman for the Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “The level of deficit will depend on the savings we are able to achieve without impacting on patient care and any additional income we can agree.

“We are currently working closely with CCG and Monitor, to develop long-term plans that will secure a sustainable future for local healthcare services and ensure we can continue to provide high-quality hospital care.”

Tim Goodson chief officer of DCCG said: “The role of the CCG is to commission and monitor high quality health services from a range of local partners, one of which is Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. In common with all providers we are in regular talks with them to ensure they can continue to offer these and provide healthcare.

“The financial position of Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is a matter for the Trust to manage and agree with Monitor, the independent regulator.”