A total of £15.2million has been awarded to Dorset’s Integrated Care System by the Department of Health to continue the major programme of transformation and improvement in the county’s health services.
The money, announced on Friday 7 December by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, will be used to fund three major initiatives:
· Mental health estates development (£5.9m)
· Major hospitals’ pathology service improvements (£5m)
· GP and community services (£4.2m)
The award was announced after Dorset bid for the funds earlier this year alongside other health and care systems up and down England.
The allocation by the Department of Health follows the award of more than £100million in July last year to support the changes being made to planned and unplanned hospital services following Dorset’s Clinical Services Review.
Tim Goodson, leader of Dorset’s Integrated Care System and Chief Officer of Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This money will support us to take another step forward to improve the quality of health and care services in Dorset. The three projects being funded are all quite different, showing the scale of our ambition and commitment to delivering the very highest quality services.”
The mental health investment is earmarked for the development of inpatient older people’s services at Alderney Hospital, Poole.
It will deliver a major upgrade from the existing accommodation for older people at St Ann’s Hospital in Poole.
The pathology service investment will be used to make significant improvements to the digital information system that underpins the pathology service across Dorset’s three acute hospitals and our partners in Hampshire.
Once upgraded, the new system will make the sharing of laboratory results much easier and it is forecast to save local NHS organisations up to £2million every year.
GP and community services in Blandford are earmarked to receive the £4.2million community services investment, where a hub will be created at Blandford Community Hospital, bringing more services to the hospital and improving access for local communities.
Responding to the investment in older people’s mental health services, Eugine Yafele, Deputy Chief Executive of Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This investment will enable us to make significant improvements to the quality of care for the older people we serve.
“Not only will it directly improve the service for older people, it will also enable us to consider how we best use all of our mental health estate, which will benefit many more people.”