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A PATIENT governor is calling on unions to work with bosses at Dorset County Hospital to avoid another financial crisis.

Unions clashed with members of the hospital’s board at a meeting when they made clear staff anger at the hospital’s involvement in a consortium looking at pay, terms and conditions.

Governor Derek Julian says he understands staff concerns over any potential changes to their entitlements but warned that the hospital faces a difficult financial future and claimed ‘we are all in this together’.

Mr Julian, who has spoken out against the board on a number of issues, said the unions must understand the hospital had to look at all possible avenues of saving money in the current financial climate.

Otherwise, he said, it could be facing a similar situation to the one that saw the hospital saddled with a £7.5million deficit less than three years ago.

The hospital still needs to find a further £1.6million to reach its current savings targets and with little sign of increased Government funding coupled with rising costs, Mr Julian said it was clear the challenges it was going to face in future.

He said: “At the moment we have got a very good board.

“We know it’s a good hospital but we all must work together to make it better.

“We must try and save money and the unions should engage with the board to protect their members, to protect jobs and look at areas where we can save money.”

Mr Julian added: “The public must remember two or three years ago when we had severe financial problems at the hospital.

“We would be the first to condemn them if they were to get in financial difficulties without trying to do something about it.”

Mr Julian said it was time for the unions and hospital chiefs to forget their differences and work together to look at ways of safeguarding the hospital against the tough financial times ahead.

He said: “We are all in this together, the patients, the unions, the public and the board.

“It’s in all our interests to work together and protect the services that we have.”