Work on developing options for community health and care services for people living in Shaftesbury, Gillingham and the surrounding areas is to resume following a meeting of the public engagement reference group this week.

Health and care professionals had been working on developing future community services in the area, following the recent review of clinical services in Dorset.

This work was put on hold at the end of last year so that the reference group could be set up as a way of involving the local community in discussions on the future shape of services.

The Shaftesbury, Gillingham, South West Wiltshire and Somerset (SGSWWS) Community Services Reference Group, which met for the third time on 9 April 2018, has now asked for the work on future services to start again so that members can give their views on the options before they are shared with the wider community.

The work on options – which will include looking at possible locations; the range of services, including beds and how these might be provided; timescales and costings – is expected to take three months to complete.

In the meantime, the engagement reference group will continue to meet to receive progress reports on any service development, changes or initiatives and to make recommendations on the best ways of sharing information with the wider community and seeking their views on options.

Dr Simone Yule, who chairs the engagement reference group, said: ‘Members of the engagement reference group have given a clear steer that they would like the work on developing options for local services to resume. The group will advise on how best the options can be presented to local people so that we can seek their views too. This is a really good example of how local people can be involved in discussions to shape the development of local health services’.

Read Shaftesbury, Gillingham, SW Wiltshire and Somerset Community Services Reference Group newsletter here.