A CHARITY which provides support for local people is urging the CCG to keep open SCBU and the Kingfisher Ward at Dorchester County Hospital.

The Steve Charles Help a Friend fund helps people in South- West Dorset to improve their quality of life including medical expense.

Proposals by the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) include having just one ward for seriously ill children and one baby unit for the county in East Dorset.

Their chairman, Ben King has written an open letter to the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) urging them not to move the services away.

He said: “Over the years the charity is proud to have helped many people, but our most common request by far is for financial assistance to those who cannot afford long-distance travel costs to hospitals outside of our area when treatment is not available locally on the NHS.

“Therefore we know more than anyone the amount of people that will be affected by the possible closure of these units and the impact it will have on the local community. We have seen first-hand people unable to visit their friends and loved ones on a regular basis simply because they cannot afford train tickets, taxis, accommodation, fuel or parking. Usually these people come to us as a last resort.”

The letter continued with a plea to the CCG to keep the service open.

Mr King said: “We firmly believe that if you could hear all the heartfelt pleas that we hear on a regular basis from people who have to beg and borrow to visit loved ones in hospitals such as Southampton General, it would have a huge impact on your considerations.” 

“How sad it is to think that if these units are closed and moved out of the area, even more families will inevitably be faced with the same issues. We know that this will not be just a mere inconvenience but will have a major impact on the lives of those that are unfortunate enough to need these wonderful facilities.

“It is for these reasons that the Steve Charles Help a Friend Charity asks that you do not transfer these units further away from our local community.”

Under the plans DCH would have a Paediatric Assessment Unit (PAU) and children with serious illnesses or needing long-term care would have to travel to the acute hospital, located in either Bournemouth or Poole.

The CCG says that no decisions have yet been made.