VERY well done indeed the Dorset campaigners, who for three years have tirelessly pursued saving Poole A&E and maternity, and have now won a major step forward in a Poole council scrutiny committee meeting 17th December, with a referral of Dorset NHS plans to the Secretary of State.

I think we all owe this group a huge debt of gratitude for researching the issues in depth and making the case for all of us.

We cannot, in a conurbation of 460,000 and rising year on year, go down to one A&E and one maternity unit at RBH on the eastern edge of the county.

We have in the recent two weeks had Poole Cllr Karen Rampton telling us in the Echo that an urgent care unit is "all but in name" the same as an A&E department.

And Cllr d'Orton-Gibson and Cllr Stollard in Bournemouth telling us not to focus on ambulance response times in "certain geographical locations", i.e. the Purbeck areas most remote from RBH.

That is how outrageous the attitudes have been from the Tory groups in our towns speaking on these issues.

Never will they speak of the £147 million Dorset NHS reduction target at the heart of DCCG plans.

As for DCCG commissioners, time and again Chief Executive Tim Goodson has repeated the same elitist mantra : "We are the experts", which is then entirely losing sight that whilst they are experts delivering public services, we are the public they are serving.

No-one can tell 50,000 petitioners we are all wrong.

So very well done campaigners.


Jubilee Road, Parkstone