Learn more about NHS service changes in West Dorset

Two public drop-in events have been organised for Bridport to outline how the controversial relocation of some NHS day services to Dorchester will help reduce waiting times and improve services for patients.

Clinicians from Dorset County Hospital (DCH) currently provide procedures at Bridport Hospital for the treatment of kidney stones (lithotripsy) and a diagnostic investigation of the bladder (cystoscopy).

However, the NHS says moving the services to Dorchester will allow specialists to see more patients and provide more comprehensive care with the latest, state-of-the-art equipment.

General surgery and vasectomy services will continue at Bridport Hospital – run by Dorset HealthCare – alongside a range of other outpatient procedures.

Locally, there is outrage at the move to relocate services.

DCH governor for West Dorset, David Tett, said the first he knew about the services being moved was when he read it in the local newspaper.

He said: “I was not consulted, or even informed, on the changes made to the services provided, and to call public meetings after the decision was taken is most ludicrous.”

Bridport and District Labour Party says it is ‘shocked and appalled’ to hear about the removal of a number of vital medical services to locations 15 to 30 miles away.

Local people found out more about the changes and were able to comment on how they could be affected, at The Bull Hotel, Bridport, on Tuesday. There is another opportunity on Wednesday, 20 March from 6-8pm, at Bridport Golf Club.

Alongside lithotripsy and cystoscopy, gastroscopy services (where clinicians use endoscopes to look inside patients’ stomachs) will also be based at DCH. They were temporarily moved from Bridport last April and the NHS says patients have been benefitting from an enhanced service.

“Making this change permanent will ensure certainty for patients and staff,” according to a statement issued by Dorset HealthCare.

Dorset County Hospital’s chief operating officer Inese Robotham said: “We want to emphasise that there will be no reduction to any services, this is a change of location only. Furthermore, relocating some of the services to DCH will allow our clinicians to treat more patients with the most up to date equipment and will have a significant positive impact on waiting times.”

Dorset HealthCare also plans to relocate Musculo-Skeletal (MSK) service list from Bridport to Blandford, making it more accessible to more patients and so providing a pan-Dorset service.

Karen Fisher, Dorset HealthCare’s locality manager for mid and west Dorset, said: “These relocations will enhance the services we provide for patients. And a wide range of services will continue to be provided at Bridport Hospital, which was identified as one of the county’s key community health and care ‘hubs’ in the recent Clinical Services Review.”

Local GPs, patient participation groups and hospital Leagues of Friends have been contacted about the changes, which will also be considered by the Dorset Health Scrutiny Committee.