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University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust

NHS in Dorset thinks big to tackle waiting lists

The NHS in Dorset is using innovation to help see patients more quickly, with plans to run clinics on the top floor of Beales department store in the Dolphin Centre, Poole.

University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust (UHD) is developing plans with partners across Dorset to run outpatient appointments in a completely different beales way, taking over the top floor of Beales department store in the Dolphin Centre in Poole. This space will be converted into a safe, clinical area for tests and screening. This is in response to the growing waiting lists following many cancellations because of the Covid pandemic. The new centre is planned to welcome its first patients in the autumn.

Patients will be seen by a variety of healthcare staff in different roles, depending on their condition. These face-to-face clinics will help determine what should happen to them next – for instance if they need to come into hospital for an operation, or to provide specialist advice on managing with treatment at home or in the community. The NHS will also be working with partners on offering wider wellbeing advice to all who attend.

By using this large space in a totally new way, planners can map out the flow of patients while always maintaining their dignity and privacy, as well as taking into account all social distancing guidelines. The NHS is also working with patient groups to ensure that the experience works to the benefit of all, including deciding the name of the centre.

The centre is initially planned to cover dermatology, orthopaedics, ophthalmology and breast screening. By setting up a breast screening unit in the middle of Poole the NHS will be able to offer women from all over Dorset the opportunity to have mammograms which were delayed by Covid in a purpose built unit.

Mark Mould, chief operating officer of UHD, said: “Last year our hospitals had to respond to the rise of Covid-19 and completely redesign our services and estate across our hosptials. This meant we had to, very reluctantly, cancel many appointments. With all the social distancing guidelines, our hospitals are not going to be able to tackle the subsequent rise in our waiting lists so we needed to “think big” to deal with the problem, as we know what an effect this can have on the patients waiting and their families. Using this fantastic space in Beales, we can design the area specifically so we can see more patients, more quickly and we hope this will make huge inroads into our lists.”

Dr Ruth Williamson, deputy chief medical officer, UHD said: “Across Dorset we really want to do our best to provide the healthcare that our patients need and this space will be fantastic as one of the many things we are doing to catch up. We look forward to welcoming patients to the new centre in Beales to help progress their treatment as we know how frustrating and challenging these delays can be. As healthcare professionals, we are really excited to be part of this project as we hope it will be of huge benefit to many of our patients.”

Tony Brown, CEO of Beales said: “Beales is proud to be working in partnership with the NHS on this innovative development. Our stores have always been at the heart of our local community so we are very pleased to be playing our part to help with the NHS’s recovery following the last devastating year. We hope that our setting, away from hospital, will help patients relax as they come in for their appointments and we know that the Dolphin Centre if very well situated for local transport links. We are also looking forward to working with the many volunteers who will be involved with the project to help all those coming in.”

Greg Westover, Fund Head of Retail and Leisure at LGIM Real Assets, which owns the Dolphin Centre, said: “We are pleased to be working with University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust and the NHS across Dorset to welcome the first ‘Think Big Clinic’ to the Dolphin Centre in Poole. The opening of this new health and wellbeing space is the next step of our reimagining plans for the Dolphin Centre. Our aim is that the centre will fast become a place of great importance for the community and will sit alongside a multitude of new environments due to launch at the Dolphin Centre that focus on education and workspaces. We hope that the successful launch of this initiative will lead to wider discussions with the NHS to create future health and wellbeing facilities for local residents, here in Poole and across the country.”

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