Call to reinstate Dorset’s community beds and wards: Portland, Bridport, Wareham and Ferndown

An illustration of a news microphone in a clenched fist (the thumb of which is styled as a dove)

The following message has been circulated by campaign groups in Dorset about hospitals and the Corvid-19 crisis.

For more information, please contact Jenny Lennon-Wood:

COVID-19 crisis – campaign to restore hospital resources in Dorset

Dear Friends,

Our very best wishes to you at this testing time. Special greetings to those working in our health service, in our care homes, and in all the occupations in which risks are being taken to protect us in the current crisis.

In recent years, our various campaign groups have worked to address wage poverty, social deprivation and injustice to vulnerable people in Dorset. Many of us have campaigned alongside those defending the NHS – and in particular our community hospitals, which have endured sweeping cuts. Now Defend Dorset NHS, Save Portland Beds and Keep Portland Hospital have called upon senior health managers in Dorset to reinstate closed wards and beds in these hospitals in response to the current crisis (please see the statement attached).

Health campaigners have also approached our local MPs and Dorset’s 82 Councillors, asking that they support this call. Together we are asking that some of the government’s emergency funding, some returning staff and some of the volunteers who have come forward are used to reinstate these much-needed beds. Dorset has an elderly population especially vulnerable to Corona Virus and we desperately need these resources now. The Times has just reported on the difficulties of discharging elderly people affected by the virus – and the added pressure placed on acute beds in our hospitals. Restoring wards at our local hospitals can make a significant difference.

We feel sure that you and your group members will wish to support this campaign. Contact details for the health service executives are below. Please support our call by emailing them yourselves and encouraging others to do so. We thank you very much in anticipation of your support: (CEO of Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group – usually the Trust that decides what is needed and holds the funding); (CEO of Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust – owners of, and responsible for, operating community hospitals).

Please also email your local MP to support our call. We have identified below the community hospitals affected by recent cuts within each MP’s constituency. Please include your address so it is clear that you are a constituent.

Richard Drax, MP for South Dorset: (Portland Hospital)

Chris Loder, MP for West Dorset: (Bridport Hospital)

Michael Tomlinson, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole: (Wareham Hospital)

Christopher Chope, MP for Christchurch and East Dorset: (St Leonards Hospital, Ferndown).

We will update you on responses from the health authorities. Apologies for cross-posting if you receive similar messages on this issue from other campaigning groups in Dorset.

Jenny Lennon-Wood
Secretary of Dorset Trades Union Council
and on behalf of Low Pay – No Way!

Phil Marfleet
On behalf of WeyPAW
and Low Pay – No Way!

Siobhan Lennon-Patience
On behalf of the SEND campaign