THE transformation of hospital services in Bournemouth and Poole have cleared one of the final hurdles to deliver a major shake-up in health care.

This afternoon it was announced that the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) ruled in favour of the changes that have been led by NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Under the proposals Poole will become the area's planned care hospital, with Bournemouth acting as the major emergency care site.

Health secretary Matt Hancock accepted the advice from the panel to allow the plan to go ahead.

A series of changes to hospital services are expected, with up to six years of work for them to come into full effect.

It is claimed the hospitals will be able to secure £147million from HM Treasury to invest in both sites.

The trusts that manage both hospitals plan to formally merge in July to become the East Dorset Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The Court of Appeal recently upheld a decision by the High Court to give support to the plans, part of a Clinical Services Review (CSR).

Indepedent scrutiny by NHS England Clinical Senate as well as NHS England process and assurance tests were also passed.

Dorset CCG said benefits of the proposals include:

  • £147 million investment in acute hospital services, including a new Emergency Department and Critical Care Unit at Royal Bournemouth Hospital;
  • Redevelopment and investment in Poole Hospital to create a new Urgent Treatment Centre and 14 theatres which will help reduce waiting times and prevent cancelled operations for patients requiring planned care
  • A new purpose built women’s and children’s unit on the eastern side of Dorset, built to modern healthcare standards;
  • More services provided closer to people’s homes;
  • New ways of working for NHS staff that will make best use of their skills and provide better care for local people;
  • Excellent networks of clinical services for stroke, cardiac and cancer services ensuring that everyone gets the same level of care across the county.

Tim Goodson, chief officer of Dorset CCG, said “We are very pleased that we are now able to move forward in the process of securing a significant investment of £147m into local healthcare and proceed with changes that will make a real difference to local people.

“The plans have passed each stage of independent scrutiny because we have followed the correct process.

“The plans were clinically-led and designed and are supported by all the NHS organisations in Dorset because they will bring investment and patient benefits.

“The current approach is simply not sustainable, everyone acknowledges this. With this news, we will now be able to focus on delivering the patient benefits that these plans will bring.

“We also welcome, and look forward to, the opportunity to work together with all interested parties, and the public, to rapidly progress these proposals for the benefit of our local communities.”

Debbie Fleming, joint chief executive of Poole Hospital Trust and Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals Trust, said: “This is great news and moves us a step nearer to delivering very significant benefits for patients.

“Our priority now is to continue to work with our staff, patients and partners to take forward our plans so that we can develop the best possible services together.”

Alyson O’Donnell, currently medical director of Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals Trust and shadow chief medical officer for the merged Trust, said: “These changes represent a once in a generation opportunity to create a healthcare system for the future.

“We are very proud of our hospitals but this investment will give us the chance to reconfigure our services to ensure a sustainable future which will benefit us all.”