Saving Kingfisher Ward, Dorchester County Hospital

Richard backed a passionate campaign to save Dorset County Hospital's Kingfisher Ward/SCBU by local residents, friends and family of current and former patients and the Daily Echo after the unit's future was threatened by proposed changes.

The new recommendations from the CCG, released on September 25th 2017, have a preferred option that Dorset County Hospital works with Yeovil District Hospital to provide a sustainable and safe service for women and children.

Clinicians from DCH and YDH have been working together to identify opportunities for further improving maternity and paediatric care, particularly for the populations in the west of Dorset and the east of Somerset. Once some preferred options are made, there will be another, full public consultation, led by Dorset and Somerset CCGs. 
Clinicians from Yeovil Hospital will also be closely involved in a Somerset-wide review of maternity and paediatric services which is currently in progress.

The Governing Body of NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group considered a number of wide ranging options after a public consultation between December 2016 and February 2017, which saw over 18,500 people give their views.

Before making final decisions, the Governing Body considered recommendations and feedback from clinicians, the public and local organisations.

The decisions will see significant investment in maternity services, including a new maternity unit at Bournemouth.


History of the campaign

Between October and December 2015, five Royal Colleges (Paediatricians and Child Health, Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Anaesthetists, Midwives and Nursing) were invited to review the CCG's recommendations for childrens' medical services in Dorset. 

These recommendations, originally made in the CCG's Clinical Sevices Review in early 2015, included closing Kingfisher Childrens' Ward and moving the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) to Poole, while establishing a new, Paediatric Assessment Unit at Dorchester hospital.

The Royal Colleges visited Dorset County Hospital, Poole Hospital, Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospital, Yeovil District Hopsital and met key staff from Southampton General Hospital.

They recommended that hospital care for children in Dorset was reorganised along the following lines:

  • More paediatricians in Poole
  • Care for premature and sick babies to be concentrated in a specialist neonatal unit in Poole or intensive care in Southampton
  • Poole and Bournemouth to integrate maternity care in Eaast Dorset
  • DCH and Yeovil to decide in the next six months whether integrating maternity and paediatric care would be safe and sustainable for the future.
  • If not, they must integrate with teams in East Dorset towards a 'One Dorset' service, with medical staff working across two sites to provide care

Final decisions on the future of Kingfisher Ward and all paediatric care in west Dorset will be made when Dorchester and Yeovil hospitals have come to a mutually agreed decision. 

Dorset's Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is currently considering a Dorset-wide consultation, which closed on February 28, 2017, on proposals for changing the way overall local community and hospital based services in the country are organised.

The CCG has made it clear that provision of healthcare in Dorset is, "unsustainable in terms of staffing, facilities and finances." Problems include the rural location and long distances to travel, more complex deliveries of more babies, small hospitals with overstretched staff and care organised according to NHS boundaries, rather than need.