THE DEFEND Dorset NHS group - which is fighting the proposed merger of accident and maternity services at Poole and Bournemouth hospitals - has filed an application at the Court of Appeal.

Last month the campaign group was refused a judicial review into Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group's plan to press ahead with the merger, which will also see the closure of a number of community hospitals and services affecting the entire county.

However, in an announcement made this morning, spokesman Debby Monkhouse said: " We have been advised we have good prospects of success at appeal and we have filed an application seeking leave to appeal at the Court of Appeal."

DDNHS has now turned its attention to the Dorset Health Scrutiny Committee which meets on October 17, in its latest challenge to the proposals in the Clinical Services Review.

It said that Swanage Town Council, Portland Town Council, Worth Parish Council, Langton Parish Council, Corfe Parish Council and Purbeck District Council all support referral of the Clinical Services Review plans for Independent Review.

"We trust that we can rely upon our Health Scrutiny Councillors to act to save Dorset County Council residents' lives and NHS services," said DDNHS.

Amongst the evidence which will be presented to the Scrutiny Committee by DDNHS are claims that Clinical Commissioning Group figures calculating how many patients are at 'potential harm' if Poole A&E was downgraded and Poole Maternity closed were incorrect.

"The CCG calculated that 132 patients over 4 months, or 396 per year, were at risk of potential harm," said DDNHS. "A Dorset A&E doctor reviewing the cases in the Report said just under half were in imminent danger of dying. This scales up to 183 deaths per year but does not include those emergencies not arriving in ambulances: 80 per cent of maternity, most child, and a significant minority of adult, emergencies.

"The CCG’s claim that centralising services at Bournemouth will ‘save 60 lives per year’ could not be substantiated in Court," it claimed.

It said Dorset Health Scrutiny Committee had a statutory duty 'to refer plans to the Secretary of State for Independent Review if the plans do not improve services for Dorset County Council residents'.