A CYSTIC fibrosis patient says she was devastated after learning about plans to cut specialist services at Poole Hospital.

Karen Pearce, a web-designer from West Parley, is angry at the NHS decision to reorganise the Wessex adult CF services - which will “likely” spell the closure of Poole’s CF ward and lead to patients being transferred to Southampton.

The 55-year-old told the Echo the service at Poole represents a “lifeline” for her and other CF patients living with the life-limiting condition.

She said: “Cystic fibrosis is incurable and with that in mind any CF provision will be accessed for the rest of my life. So this isn’t just a little episode to get over. I need this as my lifeline. I need this care forever.

“I received a letter from the trust completely out of the blue, it left me devastated.”

Karen explained how living with CF can be an exhausting, gruelling experience which makes sufferers feel particularly vulnerable at times.

“If you feel unwell you need to deal with it very quickly, because it can get so serious. Ideally, if I have an infection I have to be admitted two weeks at a time. Regular check-ups and care need to be completely accessible, not a tiring 60 mile drive away,” she said.

Fiona Dalton, chief executive at University Hospital Southampton, and Debbie Fleming, chief executive at Poole, released a joint statement last week.

They said: “The cystic fibrosis (CF) service is currently provided by two hospital trusts - University Hospital Southampton and Poole Hospital – and is supported by a dedicated team who specialise in caring for patients across both sites. Due to changes in staffing it is likely that there will not be a specialist CF consultant based at Poole Hospital in the new year.

“In anticipation of this, we are looking at different ways of running the service so that we can continue to provide excellent care for patients living in Dorset and the wider area.”

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition that results in an excessive build-up of mucus, particularly in the lungs and throughout the digestive system, making sufferers much more prone to serious infections and less able to process food.Treatment has improved considerably - more than half of UK patients now live past 47, and babies born today are expected to surpass that.