THE JUDICIAL Review into Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group’s proposed reforms to NHS services in Dorset has entered its second day.

Yesterday, campaign group Defend Dorset NHS outlined its case, alleging the process by which the decision to reorganise services – which would include the closure of Poole’s A&E and maternity units – was not made correctly.

Today it is expected that Dorset CCG will explain in the High Court in London why it believes the process was correctly adhered to.

The campaigners oppose the CCG’s proposed reorganisation, which is aimed at avoiding a projected funding shortfall, estimated to be at least £158m a year by 2021. The reorganisation will see the closure of five of 13 community hospitals across Dorset - including one on Portland and in Wareham, as well as that of Poole’s Accident and Emergency department.

Defend NHS Dorset claims the plans will leave tens of thousands of Dorset residents and over a million visitors without access to A&E and maternity services within the ‘golden hour’, and will lead to the lives of many patients being put unnecessarily at risk.

Dorset CCG says the reorganisation will ultimately save lives.

Leading campaigner, Debby Monkhouse, of Swanage said: “Our QC laid out the facts as well as trying to make the points about our case and outlined the chronology and the consultation process.

“We do not believe the CCG properly assessed the risk to people in outlying areas because of their proposals.”

Several members of Defend Dorset NHS travelled to the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand for the hearing where they were joined by Eleanor Smith MP, member of parliament for Wolverhampton. It is not known if any Dorset MP attended the hearing.

Although the hearing before Sir Stephen Silber, sitting as a Judge of the High Court, was expected to last two days, no decision is expected for several weeks.