Published: 20/03/2003, Volume II3, No. 5847 Page 10

Despite expressions of concern from local community health councils, health minister Hazel Blears has given the go-ahead to establish a twin-site option for cleft lip and palate services covering Dorset and Somerset strategic health authority.East Dorset CHC wrote to Ms Blears expressing concern about the proposals to move services currently provided at Poole Hospital trust to sites in Salisbury and Oxford. It felt there was a lack of evidence to show changes would improve the quality of care.Ms Blears replied that her decision was based on a national review of cleft lip and palate services carried out by the Clinical Standards Advisory Group. It concluded that there were too many centres offering services that resulted in poor outcomes and recommended rationalisation to provide better surgery and also specialist dental, speech and language services.