COUNCILLORS have pleaded with health chiefs to hold a full public consultation over potentially ‘devastating’ changes to GP surgeries.

Concerns have been raised over a new GP model set out in a blueprint published by the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) that could see primary care delivered at significantly fewer sites.

As revealed in the Daily Echo, the model could mean the number of GP sites in Dorset are halved from 131 to between 36 and 69 to create ‘super surgeries’ with up to 50,000 patients.

The CCG has stressed practices themselves will continue to operate and added it will be up to individual GPs whether they want to merge or move sites.

Following the publication of the draft Primary Care Commissioning Strategy and Plan by the CCG, the matter was discussed as an urgent item by members of the Dorset Health Scrutiny Committee yesterday.

Christchurch Cllr David Jones slammed the suggestion the proposed changes may not be subject to full public consultation because they did not constitute a major change.

He said: “What you’re getting is something that is really, really devastating in its coverage.”

Cllr Jones put forward a motion that the committee ask the CCG to attend a special meeting in a month to discuss the matter further and to provide a plan for “appropriate consultation with the public”.

His motion, which was backed by the whole committee, also stated the CCG should be aware of members’ displeasure that it did not itself identify the matter as something that should be brought to the committee at an early stage.

The blueprint for central Bournemouth alone suggests 10 GP sites could be reduced to between three and five.

Director of design and transformation for the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group Dr Phil Richardson said the document was not a set of proposals but a model that had been set out for discussion amongst GPs using national standards.

He said: “There haven’t been any decisions taken so it’s a real opportunity to engage with the committee, engage with where we are in the process and work out what’s the best way of moving forward.” Dr Richardson added: “Engaging with the public is a massively important part.”