COMMERCIAL: Dorset County Hospitals Foundation Trust is to stop providing services in community hospitals operated by Dorset Healthcare Univeristy Foundation Trust.

The acute trust currently provides services including outpatient clinics, surgery and radiology in six of the hospitals run by the community and mental health provider. Dorset County estimates this costs an additional £2.5m and has given Dorset Healthcare six months notice on the contract for the space.

The decision to end the contract is in response to a 3 per cent reduction in activity commissioned by NHS Dorset. Some services will be transferred to the acute trust’s own Dorset County Hospital or Weymouth Community Hospital while there will also be a reduction in activity.

There will be a public consultation on the plans in the new year. However, in a report prepared for Dorset County Council’s health scrutiny committee Dorset Healthcare assured councillors and the public there were no plans to close the community hospitals that were losing services.