1. ITV Report

Hospital beds under threat in Dorset as part of plans to save £185 million

Dozens of hospitals could be closed across Dorset in plans to save £185 million. Credit: ITV News

Inpatient wards could be closed at half of Dorset's community hospitals and the county's three biggest hospitals re-structured as part of radical plans to save money.

The changes are part of a plan to save £185 million while still improving care for an increasing and ageing population.

But some residents say the proposals will mean fewer beds in hospitals for people who need them.

Westminster Community Hospital in Shaftesbury could lose its 15 beds. Credit: ITV News

One campaign group arguing against the proposals has set up its headquarters on Shaftesbury High Street.

The 'Save our Beds' campaign is encouraging people to comment on the plans which they say will mean local hospitals being able to treat fewer people.

They say the reaction they have seen has been 'very very angry' with thousands of people saying they do not want to lose their beds.

In Shaftesbury the Westminster Memorial Hospital has 15 beds for end of life care and rehabilitation of elderly patients.

Those beds could be at risk under the new proposals while other services like X-Rays and minor injuries units could be moved to new sites.

The doctors who commission services across Dorset want to create community hubs where health professionals work alongside people offering social care.

Of the 15 community hospitals across Dorset one will close, seven will become community hubs with beds and five - like Shaftesbury - hubs without beds.

15 community hospitals could close across Dorset. Credit: ITV News

The next nearest hospitals - Blandford and Sherborne, which are both around 30 minutes away - would be the nearest community hubs with beds if Shaftesbury did lose out.

But the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group says it needs to improve quality of care and make sure it is affordable too. A spokesperson for the CCG said:

As we have been clear since the start of the review, any final decisions will only be made once we have considered the feedback we receive during the consultation period.

We are reminding people not to miss out on the opportunity to have their say about the proposals. Whether you agree with them or not please make sure you don't miss the chance to get involved."

– Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group spokesperson
Shaftesbury could be one of the hardest hit communities. Credit: ITV News

In Shaftesbury, more than 5000 completed questionnaires are ready to be handed in. Residents have one more day to have their say on the changes.