A petition to save A&E and the maternity unit at Poole Hospital has gathered more than 20,000 signatures.
Poole resident Sean Perrin started the online petition in a bid to stop changes that would see units closing at Poole Hospital and relocating to Royal Bournemouth Hospital in a major shake-up of health services in Dorset.
Health bosses from NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) propose to make Royal Bournemouth Hospital the county’s major emergency hospital, leaving Poole Hospital for planned care with an urgent care centre as part of its Clinical Services Review.
The controversial plans which aim to plug a potential funding gap of £158m a year by 2020 are currently out for public consultation until the end of February.
Mr Perrin said: “Our A&E and maternity units at Poole Hospital are essential for local people.
“The road networks between Poole and Bournemouth are dismal and travel times are very unpredictable, particularly during the summer season. This means that the proposal for closure of these essential departments is extremely worrying. Longer journey times can put lives at risk.
“A&E and maternity units are vital services for patients – why should people in Poole be put at risk by poorly thought through and misguided cost-cutting like this?”
One resident, who signed the petition, said: “In July 2016 these guys saved my granddaughter’s life. Look at a map and see how far she would have had to travel if Poole were shut.”
Full Story in Bournemouth Echo, 13 January 2017