THE FUTURE of local health services will be the subject of debate at a public meeting in Dorchester.

Dorchester Labour Party and West and South Dorset Green Party have joined forces to organise a public meeting on a proposed shake-up of health services in the county.

The NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is currently holding a consultation exercise to get public opinion on its Clinical Services Review, which sets out the vision for the future of health services in the area.

The meeting will feature a number of speakers including a local GP, councillors and health campaigners.

Claudia Sorin of Dorchester Labour said the event was a chance to share any concerns over what was being proposed by the CCG and find out more about the issues at stake.

She said: "We believe the £158 million of cuts being proposed will have far reaching, damaging consequences and that the Clinical Services Review is flawed - the assessment of travel times is not based on real life examples; the current state of the ambulance service and its failure to meet targets is not addressed; there is not enough evidence that the 'integrated community' models proposed would provide better outcomes for patients or be more cost effective."

She added: "We’re concerned that GPs and NHS workers have not been properly engaged with or consulted about the changes."

Jenny Shackleford of West and South Dorset Green Party encouraged people to come to the public meeting and said it might encourage them to take part in the public consultation exercise.

She said: "People are being asked to take part in the public consultation by filling out a questionnaire which has cuts and closures built in to all the options.

"We’ve organised this public meeting so that people will have the chance to hear speakers and ask questions about what’s being proposed and be better informed when it comes to making their voices heard through the consultation."

Jenny added: "Services at risk include GP surgeries, A&E, children’s and maternity services and community hospitals."]

The public meeting is open to all and will be held at the Corn Exchange on Wednesday, January 25 from 7pm.

Speakers include Green Party councillor and GP, Dr Jon Orrell, Labour councillor Paul Kimber and Lib Dem Councillor Ros Kayes, who are both on the Dorset County Council health scrutiny committee, as well as representatives from Save SCBU and Kingfisher Campaign, Keep Our NHS Public and Unison Health.