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Dorset health chief to step down

26 October 09 12:43 GMT

The chairman of Dorset's health trust has resigned over plans to cut services amid "major financial problems".

Robin SeQueira CBE said Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust faced a period of "considerable change".

The trust has revealed it faces a predicted deficit of £7.4m by 2010, but reassured patients that the maternity and special care baby unit would stay.

Mr SeQueira said he believed that the long-term progress of the trust should be led by a new chairman.

Mr SeQueira, who has served as chairman of the Dorchester hospital for 12 years, will step down later this week and be replaced in November.

'Equal and open'

"In recent months we have faced an increasingly difficult financial situation," he said.

"The trust board has recognised the scale of the financial challenges and agreed we need to take the necessary steps to ensure we continue to provide high quality hospital services to our community whilst also living within our means.

"This will require a review of our services and a period of considerable change."

Mr SeQueira said it had been a "privilege and honour" to serve as chairman and that he had already signalled his wish to step down in 2010.

Dr Nick Hateboer, the trust's medical director, said it had no plans to close maternity and special care baby unit departments.

"We have not made any premature judgements or decisions about any one service - and certainly have not singled out the maternity or special care baby units.

"All the services we provide will be considered equally and openly and responsible decisions reached in consultation with all our partners for the good of the whole community."

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