POOLE Labour has produced a new study critical of plans to reshape Dorset's hospitals.

NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) intends to downgrade Poole Hospital's A&E and close its maternity unit, converting it into a centre for 'planned care' procedures, while the Royal Bournemouth Hospital focuses on emergency procedures.

Poole Labour is backing a move to have the Clinical Services Review (CSR) proposal go before an Independent Reconfiguration Panel, which is currently with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The new analysis carried out by Bournemouth University professor Rick Stafford, a member of Poole Labour, examines the CSR public consultation.

Mr Stafford, whose qualifications include a PhD in Ecology and Ecological Modelling and fellowship of the Royal Statistical Society, said there was "clearly overwhelming opposition to this closure based on survey data".

He said that while ORS, the firm behind the consultation, had carried out a "fair and robust" analysis, "the company must also be aware they are analysing data from questions deliberately set up to contain bias and reflect the results wanted by the CCG".

The party has sent a copy of the report to the county's Joint Health Scrutiny Committee and Dorset CCG.

Chairman and previous parliamentary candidate Katie Taylor, said: "We are concerned about the question of who is accountable if things go wrong.

"The CCG are not politicians and therefore won't be held accountable.

"If there is evidence that quite categorically raises very real concerns which is not examined independently, how would that look if things go wrong?

"If the CCG are confident that they are making the very best decision for Dorset, then what have they got to hide in an independent review?"

Dorset Health Scrutiny Committee will refer the CSR to the Secretary of State for consideration, although the joint committee voted not to back the plan last month.

Ms Taylor said: "If other councils had also voted in favour it would have held more weight.

"Therefore there is still some hope but we are disappointed that there wasn't more support from the other scrutiny committees."

The party says 36,910 people signed petitions to 'Save Poole A&E and Maternity', almost 25 per cent of the total population of the town. Campaigners opposed to CSR say it will lead to increased journey times and possible fatalities, while NHS chiefs say it will be more cost-effective and provide better quality care.