“We have received a copy of the document from Healthwatch and have worked extensively with them in the run up to the consultation.  As many of the criticisms in the document have been discussed with Healthwatch already, we are puzzled by the decision to publish the document at this time. The document does not say how many people expressed a view on the consultation so it is difficult for us to know how representative it is.

In the planning and execution of the consultation we worked closely with a range of community groups and members of the public across the county. We also underwent a thorough assurance process with NHS England and received independent assurance and advice from The Consultation Institute, which helps organisations implement best practice for public consultation and engagement. We have received good practice accreditation for our plans, documents and processes.

As the Healthwatch document states, the proposals developed under the Clinical Services Review (CSR) are complex and people needed to be able to understand them in order to make their views known. This meant that a significant level of detail needed to be given in the document Improving Dorset’s healthcare to allow people to make informed comments. However, recognising that not everyone would want or understand the same level of detail, proposals were also explained in simpler terms via fold out cards and animations.

Within the consultation document the questionnaire itself was carefully formulated with a balance of closed and open questions which allowed people to give detailed comments and make their views clear if they wished to do so. Overall more than 18,500 questionnaires were completed during the consultation period.

The drop-in style meetings were organised in response to requests from members of the public and were held across Dorset to enable more people to have meaningful conversations about our proposals.  More than 1800 people in total attended these meetings. The format of the meetings was well received by those who attended, and worked better than previous events where conversations held ‘from the floor’ may not have been relevant to or reflect the views of many people attending.

Finally we have been clear since the start of the Clinical Services Review that public feedback on the proposals is vital to help us make any final decisions. We have detailed the next steps on our website www.dorsetsvision.nhs.uk and will continue to give updates online along with social media and the local newspapers and radio.”