Major £250m reorganisation of RBH and Poole Hospital brought forward by 18 months
PATIENTS in Dorset will see the £250million transformation of Royal Bournemouth and Poole hospitals 18 months earlier than planned.
The decision means the shift to Poole becoming the site for planned care and Royal Bournemouth becoming the major emergency centre will happen in spring 2025.
Facilities currently under construction include the new 22,650 square metre BEACH (births, emergency and critical care, children’s health) building at RBH, and the nearly completed new theatres complex at Poole Hospital.
The major reorganisation was originally scheduled for late 2026 but has been brought forward by the Univeristy Hospitals Dorset board.
Siobhan Harrington, UHD’s chief executive said: “For everyone involved - our patients and their families, colleagues and the public across the Dorset - this is fantastic news.
“After a lot of anticipation, we are now able to say that we will be able to establish the planned and emergency hospitals within the next two years.
“I want to thank everyone involved for the dedication and hard work involved in getting to this point and look forward with great excitement to opening the doors on our new facilities in 2025.”
Dr Isabel Smith, UHD’s medical director for strategy and transformation, added: “Led by our clinicians, we’ve been looking at the safest and most practical way to achieve our aim of separating planned and emergency care within our new and existing buildings.
“We collaborated with local GP leaders, the ambulance service as well as other partners in considering safe pathways for our patients.
“We’re really pleased that we now have confirmation to reconfigure our services across the sites in spring 2025 - resulting in earlier patient benefits from the split between emergency and planned care.”
The transformation has not always been well received. Campaign group Defend Dorset NHS said the loss of Poole’s A&E department and maternity services, in particular, would be a mistake.
The campaigners launched two legal challenges against the plans and also wrote to the health secretary claiming "no proper risk assessment" had been carried out over the proposed NHS shake-up.
Other developments at RBH include a new ward block as well as a purpose-designed pathology hub providing flexible testing capacity.
Poole Hospital will also contain a new urgent treatment centre, open 24 hours a day, as well as enhanced outpatient, cancer and diagnostic services.
At Christchurch Hospital, the ambition is to rebuild the Macmillan palliative care hospice, with the support of Macmillan Caring Locally charity.
NHS Dorset’s chief medical officer Dr Paul Johnson said the plans represented a “once in a generation” opportunity, adding: “It will lead to easier access to emergency and planned care, shorter waiting times as well as better outcomes through revised patient pathways using both sites.”