THE hospital plans mean at least 200,000 extra journeys across the conurbation each year – but will the planners even spot this?

At the moment the plans may be considered separately, which would have the effect of hiding the full impact of the plans on the already chronic congestion in the conurbation.

The trusts refer to the two applications as one themselves: "Please sign our petition to support our planning application for £147million to redevelop and upgrade the Royal Bournemouth and Poole Hospitals.”

The key proposal of the Clinical Services Review was to take two district general hospitals at Poole and Bournemouth and make them into one planned hospital at Poole and one emergency hospital at Bournemouth.

The building of the new theatres at Poole is due to it becoming the ‘major planned’ hospital. The increased space needed for A&E and maternity at RBH, and the new paediatric department, are due to the closure of these departments at Poole.

People who could have chosen to go to either Poole or Bournemouth for A&E and maternity care, or for their planned operation, will no longer be able to do so. Under the plans, as many as 113,000 people will have to make journeys across the conurbation, that they do not have to make now, to access care.

Planned operations: those in Bournemouth and the East will have to travel to Poole for elective care. For the year to July 2019, RBH carried out 74,463 elective operations. As Poole also carries out elective operations, many of these patients chose RBH because it is nearer to them. They will now have to get to Poole.

Emergency admissions: those in Poole and the West will have to travel to RBH for emergency care. There were 38,596 emergency admissions to Poole for the year to April 2019. As RBH also offers A&E care, most of these patients went to Poole because it is the nearest hospital. They will now have to get to RBH.

As most emergency and elective operations patients do not drive themselves, this is likely to result in at least 200,000 journeys, as each patient would require the person driving them to make the journey twice. It is likely to be significantly more than two journeys per emergency patient, depending on duration of stay and volume of visitors.

They will also result in increases in air pollution and carbon emissions. BCP Council has recently declared a climate emergency, and has committed to work towards becoming carbon neutral.

Bournemouth is the third most congested location in the UK. Yellow Buses say: “Roads across the Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch conurbation will grind to a complete standstill unless urgent action is taken to tackle congestion.”

FRANCES QUINLAN, Defend Dorset NHS, Harmans Cross, Dorset