Proposals for the future of emergency healthcare in Dorset have been outlined – with a new major planned care hospital and a new major emergency hospital to be developed in Bournemouth and Poole.
The plans have been outlined ahead of a top-level meeting of the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group’s governing body on Wednesday and if given the green light, could be implemented by next summer.
A new major planned care hospital and a new major emergency hospital would be developed at The Royal Bournemouth Hospital and Poole Hospital – each site devoted to either emergency or planned care – with specialist consultants available 24/7, a first for Dorset.
Dr Forbes Watson, chair of the CCG, said: “Across the system in Dorset, there are issues with the quality of care delivered, access to care, the affordability of care, the value for money the care provides and the work force. These are challenges we face and are aiming to address with the review.
“We have factored in that the majority of the population of Dorset live in the east of the county and it’s recommended for a population of 750,000 to one million, that to get the best quality of care, you need one major care centre where the doctors with the expert training and specialist skills can be seeing patients 24 hours a day.
“It’s been shown through research survival rates are improved by 20 per cent by sending patients to a major care centre and having consultants there 24 hours a day.
“This is about improving consultant care across the service and if the emergency situation is so serious a patient needed to be treated at Bournemouth or Poole, research shows even with the driving time, they have a better chance of survival as they’re being treated by doctors on the way and then treated by specialists on arrival.”
The CCG launched a major review into the way healthcare is provided last year in the face of changing healthcare needs and mounting debt.
It wants to:
- Develop a major planned care hospital at either the Royal Bournemouth Hospital or Poole Hospital to focus on treating patients needing scheduled operations. This hospital would also be a centre of excellence for treating the increasing number of frail and older patients who often have multiple different medical conditions. Additionally it will offer an Urgent Care Centre (as part of Dorset’s A&E network) to deal with approximately 80% of conditions that are currently seen in A&E and operate as a ‘hub’ providing a wide range of primary and community care services
- Develop a major emergency hospital with A&E services at either The Royal Bournemouth Hospital or Poole Hospital to deliver day-to-day acute services and very specialist care with consultants on site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week as needed by a small number of very seriously ill patients.
- Continue to have a planned care and emergency hospital with A & E services at Dorset County Hospital to maintain the range of day-to-day acute services, scheduled operations and emergency provision that are currently offered
Also as part of the plans, the CCG wants to provide better access to GP services for members of the public, more day-to-day care delivered out of an acute hospital setting to people’s homes, and staff working more effectively.
No final decisions have been made on the proposals but if the they get the green light, they will go to public consultation in August and could be implemented from summer 2016.
Dorset County Hospital’s A&E department is safe, but consultants will not be on hand 24/7 like they will be in Bournemouth and Poole.
The award-winning accident and emergency department in Dorchester will not be cut as part of the CCG’s major review of the county’s health services- but it will only have specialist consultants available 14 hours a day.
Mr Watson added: “The most important thing is consultants will always be available for all patients in all parts of the county all the time. Being a clinician and a GP myself in Lyme Regis, I have no hesitation in recommending this to my patients.”
Specialist consultants would be available up to 14 hours a day at DCH. Emergency, cardiac and stroke services at DCH would still be provided for 24 hours a day, but if a patient suffered an emergency situation outside of the 14 hour period, to get the best care they would have to be transferred to east Dorset.
Dr Watson said: “It’s very important to say there are absolutely no plans to reduce the hours of the A&E department at DCH, it will stay open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
“The vast majority of the current care delivered at DCH will not stop, but what we want to do is develop a major site in the east of the county.
“The other side of this is not only will the majority of care stay at DCH, but we’ll be looking to improve the amount of care delivered in the community, to deliver the care people need to their homes.”