Meeting about future of Swanage Hospital and local healthcare

Amidst a national staffing crisis in the NHS, long waiting lists for operations and the combined challenge of flu and Covid this winter, the Friends of Swanage Hospital is holding a meeting, open to all, about future local healthcare changes.

The Government launched a policy in 2015 to move healthcare closer to home and away from acute hospitals but it got derailed by the pandemic. Now the changes are starting to be rolled out in Purbeck.

Front door of Swanage Hospital

Front door of Swanage Hospital

Facing a period of change

Swanage Hospital has faced many challenges over the past year and it’s now facing a period of change in how healthcare services are delivered in our local community.

The annual general meeting of the Friends of Swanage Hospital is being held at 2.30 pm on Wednesday 26th October 2022 at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Victoria Avenue.

The guest speaker is Erin Shakespeare, manager of the Purbeck Primary Care Network who will give an overview of how Swanage Hospital could provide services in the coming years.

The Purbeck Primary Care Network is a collaboration of local GP surgeries providing services across Purbeck and is responsible for delivering the Covid vaccine rollout at Wareham Hospital.

Swanage Hospital garden
Swanage Hospital garden

The garden at Swanage Hospital paid for by funds from Friends of Swanage Hospital

“We do rely on our local community to help us”

Chair of the Friends Deirdre Selwyn is hoping that many people from the community come along to show their support for Swanage Hospital and local health care services. She said:

“The Friends of Swanage Hospital committee are committed to working with the statutory organisations to ensure that the hospital once again becomes the vibrant centre of local community health services.

“Please do try to join us to learn more about these changes and what they will mean for the community, and share with us your questions and concerns.

“We do rely on our local community to help us work with the NHS commissioners, as well as Dorset Healthcare, who runs Swanage Hospital, as we move forward over the coming years.”

Swanage Hospital relatives room

A new relatives room at Swanage Hospital funded by Friends of Swanage Hospital

The ward at Swanage Hospital viewed from the garden

The Stanley Purser ward at Swanage Hospital overlooks the garden

Fight to restore services lost during pandemic

Swanage Hospital currently provides a 15 bed ward, a minor injuries unit, X-ray and ultrasound, endoscopy services and physiotherapy.

Its outpatient department is supported by consultants from Poole General, Royal Bournemouth and Dorchester County Hospitals.

During the pandemic many outpatient clinics were cancelled at Swanage Hospital and the team has been fighting to get the services fully reinstated.

Access to the minor injuries unit became appointment only at the start of the pandemic but now that has been relaxed and although it’s preferred that people book via the phone line 111, patients can now turn up at the hospital.

The plan to scrap the Swanage Ambulance Car in 2020 has now been reversed and it’s understood that the car is now fully staffed, working alongside the double crewed ambulances.

Poole Hospital
Poole Hospital

Poole Hospital accident and emergency departmet is due to close in 2026

Closure of Poole Hospital accident and emergency concern

Concern remains over the closure of Poole Hospital accident and emergency department, planned to happen in 2026, which will mean a longer distance to travel from Swanage to get emergency treatment in either Dorchester or Bournemouth.

Swanage Town councillor Debby Monkhouse, who leads on the town council’s emergency health services working party said:

“As a community we must continue to show our support for local healthcare services and Swanage Hospital.

“Any threats to Swanage Hospital services are particularly worrying, as we were promised when the decision was made to close Poole Hospital accident and emergency, that its closure would be mitigated by enhanced local health care.

“We’re told that Poole Hospital Accident and Emergency department is not due to close until two years after the new Bournemouth centre opens in late 2024. Yet people report that Poole A and E has already been significantly reduced in size, that there may be fewer clinical staff present, and patients face very long waits.

“Dorset Council has agreed to examine this and will set up a Task and Finish Group to look at whether or not Poole Hospital A and E is being prematurely run down.

“As part of that I’d be very interested in hearing the experience of anyone who’s had to go to Poole A and E recently.”

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