Dorchester children’s clinic closure is denied

Dorset Echo: DCH governor Andy Hutchings DCH governor Andy Hutchings

A CONCERNED parent is calling for clarity after she was told paediatric eye clinics at Dorset County Hospital had been stopped.

The hospital claims the service had to cancel some appointments at short notice following the departure of a consultant but insisted all appointments were now being re-arranged.

The mother, who did not wish to be named, said her six-year-old daughter was recently referred to the eye clinic by her GP.

She said after an appointment was initially booked, five days before her child was due to see a consultant she was told it had been cancelled and there were no appointments until February or March next year.

Eventually she was told by a nurse at the clinic that they no longer had any paediatric consultants there and have cancelled all paediatric clinics.

The mother said she was advised to go back to her GP and get her daughter referred to another hospital, either at Yeovil or Bournemouth, where she could be seen.

She said that had set her daughter back about four weeks and it would now take another three or four weeks to get a new appointment elsewhere.

She said: “I have got a six-year-old who has constant headaches, sore eyes and is crying and obviously we want to get it sorted out.

“The hospital is not coming out and saying ‘we can’t offer this service at the moment, you need to go elsewhere’.”

A spokesman for Dorset County Hospital said: “The paediatric ophthalmology service is not being stopped at Dorset County Hospital. “Cover was arranged for an interim period following the departure of a consultant but, due to compassionate leave, clinics were cancelled at short notice. “This situation has now been resolved and all appointments are being re-booked.”

Publicly elected governor at the hospital Andy Hutchings said the concerns felt by patients over the eye clinic highlighted the need for the hospital to communicate effectively with the public, something he has previously raised with the board.

He said: “I think it’s important to keep in touch with the patients when any clinic is cancelled and to give them an explanation as to why it is cancelled.

“I have taken this up before and I will continue to press for this.”

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