HUNDREDS of campaigners are expected to descend on a controversial meeting today as decisions are made on the fate of health services in Dorset.

After years of controversy, residents will hear exactly what the biggest shake-up of health services in a generation will mean for them when final decisions are made on the Clinical Services Review.

And despite the meeting being held in Dorchester with 150 pre-registered attendees, crowds of concerned campaigners across the county who make up the 75,570 who signed petitions are set to take to the streets in protest.

Health bosses from NHS Dorset CCG, who previously spent nearly £5,000 hiring security for its consultation events, yesterday revealed they will be hiring three ‘outside contractors’ in the ‘interest of public safety.’

If recommendations revealed last week to plug a £158 million projected deficit by 2021 are given the green light, Poole Hospital would become a site for planned care with a 24/7 urgent care unit. Royal Bournemouth Hospital would transform into a major emergency hub for the east of the county.

The key changes would mean Poole Hospital’s A&E, maternity and paediatrics departments would shut for new facilities at RBH, St Leonards Community Hospital would close and other community hospitals including Wareham and Swanage would lose beds.

Debby Monkhouse from Keep Our NHS Public Dorset said: “It is difficult to see how services can be brought ‘closer to home’ by proposals to close one of three Dorset A&E’s, to close one of three Dorset’s maternity services and downgrade another, and to close hospitals or hospital beds in six of thirteen Dorset Community Hospitals. These proposals mean that journey times to access services will be increased for many Dorset residents.”

The governing body meeting takes place from 10am until around 12.30pm at the Conference Hall at the Dorford Centre.

As previously revealed, Dorset CCG said places are now reserved for key stakeholders, members of the media and registered members of the public but no questions will be allowed from the floor.

A spokesman from NHS Dorset CCG said: “There has been a huge amount of interest in the CSR since it launched in 2014 and as a result we are expecting around 150 people to attend the governing body meeting tomorrow. To ensure the smooth running of the meeting we will be using the services of three additional staff who will fulfil a number of duties alongside CCG staff.”