The scheming charlatans of Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group have gone back on their word yet again and announced plans to run down local maternity services, bypassing the promised public consultation. The cuts, which are being presented as a fait accompli, will take place with undue haste, despite (or perhaps because of) years of solid public opposition. No one wants them; an internet search will reveal numerous glowing testimonials from relieved parents and sponsored events to raise funds for this universally acclaimed facility. W.S. have known for some time that their long term agenda is to reduce D.C.H. to a pointless cottage hospital, then close it.
Statement from the Save Kingfisher and SCBU at DCH campaign group:
“Plans for Maternity Services and Special Care Baby Unit at Dorset County Hospital to be downgraded, are now going ahead without public consultation. Three maternity rooms are being transformed into a midwife led unit and babies born under 32 weeks and sick babies will be sent to Poole Hospital. The plans will take effect within a matter of weeks. With the setting up of a Triage Unit as well, this brings maternity and SCBU services at DCH another step closer to being a low risk unit. By the time the public consultation on whether to make Bournemouth Hospital the main centre for Maternity and Paediatric care in Dorset takes place, DCH will have already transferred much of this care to Poole Hospital. The public are in effect being denied a say on what happens to Maternity and Neonatal services here in West Dorset.”
The plot to shut SCBU was first uncovered back in 2009, as reported by Dorset Echo The chairman of the NHS trust Robin SeQueira subsequently resigned rather than implement the cuts, and staff were publicly calling for the remaining board members to be sacked. The trust’s medical director Dr Nick Hateboer (£140,000-£145,000 p.a.) insisted:
“We know that the public are concerned about the future of hospital services, including maternity and the special care baby unit (SCBU) – however, we have no plans to close these departments. We understand how important these services are to the community.”
Dr Hateboer also left in Sept 2011.
According to the Echo:
… a hospital source who confirmed that the baby units were under threat described the latest announcement as a ‘smokescreen’ to ‘calm the troops’ while decisions were made. The source said:
“There’s been a tremendous furore in the hospital internally. A lot of the hospital staff, especially at lower levels, are very concerned and members of the public have also been complaining to the hospital.”
“I think this is a smokescreen. The board of directors realise they’re under the microscope and I know several are thinking about resigning.”
In Feb 2014, the unit was rated among the top 15 maternity services in the UK for care quality and safety on nine clinical indicators including caesarean rates, length of stay, complications, re-admissions and injuries, as well as three indicators from the Care Quality Commission’s maternity survey. The result put Dorset County Hospital among the top ten per cent of maternity providers in the country. The unit then received £276,000 of funding from the government’s Improving Maternity Care Settings Fund, to develop facilities for mothers with complex mental health needs and build two en-suite rooms between the maternity unit and SCBU for parents of babies on the ward.
Meanwhile, the C.C.G. turned its attention to the pathology service, but was thwarted by another public outcry.
In May 2015 they tried again, announcing “an overhaul of Dorset’s healthcare”, claiming that “experts in paediatric medicine and care are indicating that it is not necessary to have large and increasing numbers of inpatient beds for children.” The C.C.G. ‘s proposals, which would go to public consultation, included having just one ward for seriously ill children and one baby unit for the county – in East Dorset. Dorchester would be reduced to a Paediatric Assessment Unit with consultants available 16 hours a day. Children with serious illnesses or needing long-term care would have to travel to the acute hospital, located in either Bournemouth or Poole.
The hospital governors were disparaging accusing the C.C.G. of “making it up on the hoof”. Mothers responded with a flash demo outside their meeting place, Vespasian House. A week later, two and a half thousand people marched through Dorchester
At the beginning of July 2015 The Kingfisher mums’ campaign was again told, this time by chartered accountant Tim Goodson and chairman Forbes ‘Dr Death’ Watson, that SCBU was now safe and even asked to take it off their banner!
Some awkward questions were asked at a public meeting and the proposals were shelved for a year, meanwhile a fraudulent review was conducted costing £2.9 million, culminating in a farcical presentation at which the option to downgrade the SCBU from treating 28 week to 32 week babies was broached by Mr Goodson, the more premature to be shipped anywhere from Poole to Southampton. The later is now probable, as Poole is destined to be left without either A & E or maternity wards.
They further suggested splitting the facilities with Yeovil hospital, which as a heckler pointed out, is in Somerset! Yeovil immediately dismissed the idea.
It’s time these sinister crooks came clean and admitted who they’re flogging the site to.
Actions against all this will follow, watch this site for details.