Management consultancy McKinsey is set to help Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group review its clinical services after being named the preferred bidder for a £2.75m consultancy contract.

The six month review will examine the challenges of Dorset’s ageing population, clinical standards and financial pressures.

It will scrutinise current service arrangements before drawing up a plan which will be put out for public consultation.

Service changes are expected to be rolled out in 2015-16.

Forbes Watson, chair of Dorset CCG said the review needed to be “extremely thorough” to ensure its healthcare regime was put on a sustainable footing.

“Our governing body took the decision to work with an external consortium led by McKinsey, in order to bring a fresh and impartial perspective.

The CCG has worked closely with NHS England and Monitor who are supportive of the approach.”

He added: “There are three reasons for carrying out this review.

Increasing life expectancy is affecting all NHS and social care organisations and more so for us in Dorset, where 25 per cent of our residents are over 65 years old.

“At the other end of the scale, our population of under 20s is growing by 30 per cent and these younger people also have different healthcare needs.

“There are also clinical challenges to consider, such as availability of skills and staff while maintaining quality standards of care.

“There isn’t any extra money to solve these challenges, so another part of the review will include looking at how we can make services in Dorset financially viable.

“We need to rebuild a health and social care system that is sustainable for future use for our family, friends and communities.”

McKinsey has recently worked with Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes CCGs, NHS England and Monitor, to put together a blueprint for urgent and emergency care services at Bedford Hospital and Milton Keynes Hospital.

Under this plan, one of the hospital’s A&E departments could be downgraded after the review concluded that keeping emergency surgery on both sites was “not sustainable long term”.

The five options drawn up for the Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes review build on proposals in NHS England’s urgent and emergency care review.

They include the option of a GP-led accident and emergency department or an emergency centre which is consultant-led but with no emergency surgery.

Although a final proposal has not yet been agreed, Bedfordshire CCG has concluded its emergency services must include an A&E, paediatric and maternity services.