CAMPAIGNERS will protest outside a decision-making meeting on the future of health services in Dorset.

Four groups unhappy with NHS Dorset CCG’s Clinical Services Review will demonstrate as health bosses gather to debate the controversial proposals next Wednesday in Dorchester.

They are calling for them to take into account the 75,570 petition signatures.

It comes as health bosses are also being urged to ‘genuinely recognise public concerns’ when they make their decisions.

Today a health watchdog said it is vital that decision makers prove they have ‘genuinely listened’ to concerns and how in practice the public has influenced their decisions.

Martyn Webster, manager of Healthwatch Dorset, said: “There is a lot of support among local people for some of the general principles of what’s being proposed, but also a lot of genuine concern about the detail.

“Reasonably enough, people want to know ‘what’s it going to mean for me?’ Planning the future of NHS services has to be based on the reality of people’s lives and their personal insights and experience, as well as on clinical data and the demands of balancing the books. So, we’re going to be looking to see how the CCG responds to concerns about things like access, travel and transport.

“Whatever the decisions they take are, there are going to be changes to services. And they will potentially bring gains for some and losses for others. If the CCG is going to calm local anxieties and build confidence, they need to show that they genuinely recognise people’s concerns and explain how they’re going to mitigate for them.”

Dorset CCG said because the public consultation has ended ‘there will be no opportunity for questions to be asked from the floor on the day.’ But if key stakeholders have any questions they can be asked in advance by email which will then be addressed in presentations or through FAQs on the Dorset CCG website.

If the preferred plans are given the green light, Royal Bournemouth Hospital (RBH) would become a major emergency hospital with Poole Hospital for planned care. It means the emergency department, maternity unit and paediatrics care at Poole Hospital would move to RBH.

Meanwhile, the number of community hospitals in Dorset would be cut from 13 to just seven ‘community hubs with beds’ and a further five ‘community hubs without beds.’

Healthwatch Dorset has previously criticised the public consultation claiming many members of the public gave up filling in the ‘full of waffle’ 48-page questionnaire.

A spokesman for Dorset CCG said places at the meeting will be limited due to the venue’s capacity and will be reserved for key stakeholders, members of the media and interested members of the public.

A spokesman from Dorset Health Campaigns Together said: “People across Dorset are angry about these shabby proposals to save £229 million a year from our Dorset NHS budget, while pretending the result will be some kind of improvement. It’s definitely not an improvement and we’re going to fight these untested cuts every inch of the way.”

The meeting takes place at 10am at the Conference Hall at the Dorford Centre, Bridport Road, Dorchester.