THE way to contact hospitals across the conurbation is changing.

As the Royal Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch hospitals become University Hospitals Dorset, telephone numbers will change from 1 October.

Numbers starting with the area code 01202 are being replaced with a new 0300 019 prefix, followed by the last four digits of the old number.

Switchboard numbers will stay the same – however if you are called by the hospital this will display as coming from the new 0300 019 prefix.

A spokesman said: "There are currently a range of different dialling prefixes which our patients and the public have told us can be confusing.

"From 1 October there will be just one: 0300 019.

"If you keep a hospital telephone number handy, it’s simple to update it – just add the last four digits to the new prefix.

"For example, an old telephone number beginning 01202 and ending in extension ‘1234’ becomes 0300 019 1234."