THE closure of an NHS A&E service and the maternity unit at Poole hospital is a huge blow to the 120,000 people living in our town and adjoining areas.

Bournemouth hospital where the A&E will be relocated is three miles east of Bournemouth, seven miles from Poole, connected by the A338 which as we all know and for months to come is gridlocked. And this is not a one off – the A338 is frequently gridlocked with accidents or other road works.

How then can any clinical commission not see this is going to be disastrous for ambulance access? Even given a clear road, at the very best, it is going to be 20 minutes for an ambulance to get out to Poole area then another 20 minutes back.

What an appalling decision by Dorset NHS and all the more shocking when our current central A&E could not be better positioned with direct frequent bus access. Notably there is no longer any Morebus M1 or M2 bus services from Poole to Bournemouth hospital, making the decision to move all the more horrific.

Also of highest critical importance, many tens of thousands every year self-admit to Poole A&E as they do in towns and cities throughout the country. For Poole people this all then ends when A&E ends up three miles east of Bournemouth.

And this in my view all carefully calculated by Dorset NHS. They know very well walk-in A&E moving to a semi-rural location will slash walk-in admissions. A&E effectively cut off to direct access certainly for Poole, all access ending up through the ambulance priority system only.

Bottom line in the whole Dorset NHS review, notably the critical objective target, is "affordability". Costs are being slashed. We can afford 138 £90 million each F-35 stealth bombers on credit from the USA, we can afford to save the banks with countless billions inward funding, whilst at the same time we shut down major A&E and maternity units for a 120,000 population town.

JEFF WILLIAMS, Jubilee Road, Parkstone