THE chairman of the trust that runs the Dorset County Hospital has quit the day after proposals to cut the maternity and special care baby units were revealed.

Robin SeQueira, who is chairman of the Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, stepped down 12 years of service.

His resignation came just days after revelations that the hospital may have to axe such services as maternity and its special care baby unit to plug a £7.1 million black hole.

Mr SeQueira said he was stepping down now because he did not want to oversee what he predicted will be a “difficult” period. He also predicted that several middle management positions and support staff posts will be axed.

Mr SeQueira said: “The scale of changes that the trust will have to face are fairly substantial and I did not want to preside over them.

Hospitals like Dorset County are small district generals that don’t attempt to provide a whole range of specialist services, such as dermatology or gynaecology because we simply don’t have the amount of patients coming through the door to make these specialisms affordable to us.

“The health service is now very much business-based and you’ve got to have a certain number of people coming through the door to earn the cash you want.”

He added: “We suffer from what’s known as the market forces factor.

“It’s more costly to provide certain services in urban areas and these hospitals are given a premium for that.

“Dorset County Hospital has lost £4-6million a year to hospitals in Bournemouth and Poole and we’ve always had difficulty equating our income with our expenditure.

“The board is going to have to reshape the hospital with a more basic range of services.”