1. ITV Report

Question mark over maternity and children's care in Dorset hospitals

A review's been announced into some services at Dorset County Hospital Photo: ITV News West Country

A question mark remains over the future of children's and maternity services at Dorset County Hospital. A review has recommended managers now look to join forces with Yeovil District Hospital, rather than Poole. The doctors who commission services say they need to keep them safe and sustainable in the future.

The key recommendations:

  • Dorset County Hospital and Yeovil District Hospital work closer together to deliver children's and maternity services.
  • Develop paediatric nursing support based in GP surgeries.
  • Increase midwife-led care rather than consultant-led care in the hospitals.

Dr Karen Kirkham of the Dorset Care Commissioning Group says local services face significant challenges in the future.

Campaigners have fought for months to protect the Kingfisher Children's Ward, Maternity Ward and Special Care Baby Unit in Dorchester. Doctors were initially considering moving services to Poole, in the east of Dorset. It remains an option if discussions with Yeovil don't work out.

Dorset CCG says the children's ward in Dorchester won't be closed but it will still look at how the ward operates, hoping to provide better support in the community for young patients. Campaigners say the new proposals are better, but they remain cautious about the future of support for their families.