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Dorset A&E campaigners considering appeal in defeat

SAM TOBIN reports from the High Court

CAMPAIGNERS fighting the closure of Poole Hospital’s A&E department are considering an appeal after they lost a legal challenge to keep the site open today.

Anna Hinsull, who suffers from “many serious health conditions” leaving her “heavily dependent on safe access to emergency healthcare” at the hospital, brought a judicial review of Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) decision to axe the hospital’s A&E and specialist maternity unit.

Its changes meant the Poole A&E had been “downgraded” to a GP-led urgent care centre and emergency care would only be available at Royal Bournemouth Hospital or Dorset County Hospital, around eight or 20 miles away respectively.

Her barrister Jason Coppel QC told the High Court: “To not put a too fine a point on it, [Ms Hinsull’s] dependency is essentially a matter of life and death.”

The CCG accepted its cuts had “the potential to create an enormous deficit in staffing and beds,” while insisting it had to tackle an estimated funding shortfall of £158m by 2021.

Judge Stephen Silber said he appreciated that “some residents of Dorset will be disappointed by this decision,” but he dismissed the claim for judicial review.

Defend Dorset NHS campaigners told the Bournemouth Echo that the group was “shocked” by the decision and would be speaking to its lawyers later this week.

CCG chief officer Tim Goodson said: “We hope that the High Court’s decision will reassure local people that the CCG has acted properly and in the interests of healthcare services in Dorset.”

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