OPPOSITION councillors in Poole will call for plans to overhaul the county’s NHS services, including the closure of the town’s A&E department, to be referred to the Health Secretary next week.

The motion, which is due to be put forward at next week’s Poole council meeting by members of Poole People Party, follows a similar move made by Dorset County Council last month.

Concerns have been raised about the impact of proposals in Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) clinical services review with campaigners saying that increased travel times would cause the deaths of “at least 183 people a year”.

However, health officials have said that patient outcomes are improved when they are treated in specialist centres.

In order to tackle a forecast funding shortfall of £158m, the CCG has made a range of proposals including the closure of Poole Hospital’s A&E and maternity departments, as well as five of the county’s 13 community hospitals.

Following claims that the additional travel time it will take for people living in the west of Dorset to reach Royal Bournemouth Hospital for treatment, the CCG published a report saying that the changes would reduce waiting times.

It adds: “National studies show that better outcomes are achieved when people are treated in specialist centres with senior specialist staff available on site.”

On Tuesday (November 13), Poole councillors Mark Howell and Marion Pope will put forward a motion asking that the proposals are referred to the health secretary, Matt Hancock.

Cllr Howell, Poole People leader, said: "The CCG has gone down a rabbit hole and lost perspective.

“The decision to move the A&E department to the eastern edge of Bournemouth was largely based on a one-off £40 million difference in the two competing proposals, which is a relatively small amount given the upheaval that will be involved and the inconvenience and increased dangers that users of the service from Poole and the Purbecks will face over many years.

“Poole councillors should be doing everything they can to stop this. It is not too late to act."