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Demo over planned hospital cuts

1 November 09 13:59 GMT

Placard-waving demonstrators have marched through a Dorset town over plans to cut services at a hospital amid financial problems.

The group of nearly 20 adults plus children staged the protest in Dorchester town centre over possible cuts at Dorset County Hospital.

The trust revealed it faces a predicted deficit of £7.4m by 2010.

Last week, the chairman of the health trust resigned saying its long-term progress should be led by someone new.

Robin SeQueira CBE served as chairman of the Dorchester hospital for 12 years and will be replaced in November when a decision on on which services will be lost will be made.

'Cuts cost lives'

He said a review of services would take place adding there would be "a period of considerable change".

The trust has reassured patients the maternity and special care baby unit (SCBU) would stay.

A Facebook group with more than 7,000 members had been set up in protest at their potential closure.

Francesca Fox, who took part in the march, said protesters carried placards that read "Cuts cost lives" and "Don't let your staff and patients down".

She said: "This march was originally for the maternity and SCBU units because they were going to close them.

"But there will still be other cuts in the hospital.

"It's really important there aren't any because the closest hospitals other than this are in Yeovil and Poole, which is quite a journey."

Last week, Dr Nick Hateboer, the trust's medical director, said no "premature judgements or decisions" had been made about the closure of any one service.

But he added there were no plans to close maternity and special care baby unit departments.

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