“THIS feels totally wrong.”

Those are the words of governors from Poole Hospital who have filed a damning response to health bosses over their controversial plans to shake up health services in Dorset.

They say the ‘once in a lifetime decision’ is down to minutes and money and ignores what residents really care about.

In the highly-charged and critical reply to Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) Clinical Services Review (CSR) preferred proposals, which include making Royal Bournemouth Hospital the county’s major emergency centre with Poole Hospital for planned care, members of the council of hospital governors list out major concerns.

They say moving care closer to home and saving money by reducing 'nearly 300 acute hospital beds (based on CSR demand projections' may work.

However they call for guaranteed investments in place ‘before any acute hospital beds are closed’, expressing concerns no significant investments ‘will ever be made.’

The response lists reasons why the council of governors believe Poole should be the major emergency hospital including:

*Concerns over poor access such as the ability of the ambulance service ‘to cope’ without more investment in ambulances and staff to guarantee patients arrive at RBH ‘safely’ as well as doubts that projected travel times ‘realistically take into account the very busy summer and peak time traffic in Poole and Bournemouth’

*Worry that ‘the CCG have massively underestimated the negative effect of such a high risk plan’

*Disruption to services and staff would ‘throw everything up in the air’ and pull apart respected clinical teams

*Fears of increased clinical risk due to no planned intensive care beds on a major planned hospital site which ‘will lead to problems’ if an emergency arises following planned surgery

The document seen by the Daily Echo reads: “There are 23 Poole Hospital governors, 6,500 members and the Dorset population we serve. Therefore whilst we have had many CSR conversations based on the numbers and facts, the most consistent and striking response we have had back from people has been ‘this feels totally wrong.’

“Indeed it cannot be right to move maternity, paediatrics, trauma and emergency services off the Poole Hospital site. It cannot be right to fragment cancer services and tear apart much loved and high performing clinical teams.

“We know that this may appear an emotional response, but we believe the CCG’s CSR analysis ignores how people feel and has simply reduced this once in a lifetime decision down to numbers ie: minutes and money, and ignores what people really value and care about.”

It adds: “As a general comment our members have consistently pointed out that the greatest negative impact from proposals will fall on the independent frail, disabled, pregnant mothers and children, particularly for those whose circumstances make access to services already difficult.”

Responses to the public consultation on the CSR are now with Opinion Research Services (ORS) who are preparing a report for the CCG's Governing Body ahead of its decision.