Dorset Public Health is conning itself and the mothers and babies of Dorset by replacing the existing breastfeeding support service with a 'dumbed down' version and hiding behind its interpretation of NICE Guidance in order to do it.

Without asking overworked midwives and health visitors, or consulting the voluntary organisations now being expected to take up the slack the new service will create, Public Health Dorset is cutting breastfeeding counsellors and lactation consultants out of the service in a bid to save money.

In Dorset, there are no baby friendly hospitals so mothers are already at a disadvantage, but until now skilled help has been available across Poole, Bournemouth and Purbeck, as well as well trained peer supporters to help make groups run smoothly and provide emotional support to new mothers.

Instead of rolling out the superior service available in these areas across Dorset, Public Health has decided to get rid of it altogether and rely on volunteer peer supporters, many of whom are only available for a few moths before returning to work and never have the opportunity to develop their skills to anywhere neat the level required to support and inform mothers to the level required.

When increasing breastfeeding duration is known to save the NHS millions - how can this be a good idea?

With DCC cutting funding for youth centres and the closure of the women's refuge in Bournemouth never before has the phase, "Women and children first" been more appropriate, or more saddening.

Julie Dyball

Studland