HEALTH chiefs are set to continue working to develop options for community health and care services in north Dorset.

Care professionals had been working on developing future community services for people living in Shaftesbury, Gillingham and the surrounding areas, following the recent review of clinical services in Dorset

This work was put on hold at the end of last year so that the reference group could be set up as a way of involving the local community in discussions on the future shape of services.

Now the Shaftesbury, Gillingham, South West Wiltshire and Somerset (SGSWWS) Community Services Reference Group - which met for the third time earlier this month - has asked for the work on future services to start again, so that members can give their views on the options before they are shared with the wider community.

SGSWWS chairman Dr Simone Yule said: "Members of the engagement reference group have given a clear steer that they would like the work on developing options for local services to resume.

"The group will advise on how best the options can be presented to local people so that we can seek their views too. This is a really good example of how local people can be involved in discussions to shape the development of local health services."

Options being considered include: possible locations; range of services, including beds and how these might be provided, and timescales and costings.

In the meantime, the engagement reference group will continue to meet to receive progress reports on any service development, changes or initiatives and to make recommendations on the best ways of sharing information with the wider community and seeking their views on options.