THE boss of Dorset HealthCare has spoken about the controversial decision to shake-up NHS services - and how in many cases a hospital bed is not the right place for patients.

Trust chief executive Ron Shields said: “We fully support the ambition for high quality, integrated community services for the people of Dorset, and welcome the CCG’s decisions as a very positive step forward.

“Creating community hubs, where physical and mental health services work closely together, will lead to better outcomes for our patients and those around them. In many parts of Dorset we are already supporting people to stay in their own homes and to live independently, where they may have previously needed to stay in hospital.

“In many cases a hospital bed is not the right place for people who are more frail and elderly and moving to more integrated community services will give us greater flexibility in meeting people’s individual needs. Having multi-skilled teams based out in the community, working more closely with colleagues in social care, is undoubtedly the way forward."

As reported, under plans to ‘provide care closer to home', NHS CCG has decided to close St Leonards Hospital while Wareham Hospital will also lose its beds to be transformed into a community hub.

Community hubs with beds will be located at hospitals including Swanage, Wimborne, Blandford, RBH and Poole Hospital.

Dorset County Hospital and Christchurch Hospital will become community hubs without beds but the palliative care beds at Christchurch will be unaffected.

Community beds will also be lost at Alderney Hospital once alternative services have been set up.

Mr Shields added: “The decisions are also very positive for the future of mental health services in Dorset and a commitment to delivering the very best quality of care. They are innovative, ambitious and a significant improvement on the current arrangements, based on what service users have told us they need.”