The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch hospitals are now part of the University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust, please find us at You can also still call us on 01202 303626

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Latest news

16 September 2020

Merger of our trusts is approved

Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will merge. This follows approval by both trusts boards of directors and councils of governors on Tuesday 15 September. NHS England and Improvement issued the legal orders today (18 September) to authorise that the two trusts will join on Thursday 1 October to create University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust.

Debbie Fleming, joint Chief Executive said: "This is fantastic news. We are delighted that this is happening as we believe our merger will help our three hospitals to provide even better care, and develop world-class services as we become a university hospital trust working with Bournemouth University. Our new organisation will allow us to work better together to tackle Covid-19 and realise our ambitious plans for the future."

"We appreciate there will be a lot of work to be done to bring our trusts together and this will go along side our capital plans and the reconfiguration of services but much of this is well underway and is progressing well. Our organisation development programme centres around developing a shared set of values and creating a strong positive culture together, and we have an ambitious three year plan for taking this forwards."

NHS England and Improvement completed their review of the merger last week and wrote that they were satisfied that it will enable quicker decision-making and implementation of change, which will speed up the benefits of the reconfiguration. They also wrote that the two trusts are well placed to provide substantial improvements for patients - both as a result of bringing our services and teams together and through reconfiguration of our services.

David Moss, join Chairman said: "We thank all our partners, including Dorset Healthcare, Dorset County Hospital, our local councils, South Western Ambulance Service and the Dorset CCG. We look forward to continuing to work closely together as part of the Our Dorset Integrated Care System to realise the full benefits of our merger and our bright future together as University Hospitals Dorset."

23 July 2020

'Once in a generation opportunity’ for Royal Bournemouth Hospital given green light

8 July 2020

Help shape the way we treat you in future

12 June 2020

NHS Improvement decision on proposed merger date

Work with us to develop the very best local services

As our hospitals in east Dorset are changing, we need your help in designing our NHS for the future.

The NHS often dominates our headlines but it can be hard to separate the facts from the fiction, with all the different news, views and opinions. So our hospitals need your help - to ensure that we tackle the things that matter to local people, and are able to share accurate and up-to-date messages. We would encourage you to become members of our Trusts so you can hear firsthand what is going on, share your own views and thoughts, and influence the development of hospital services.

We would really value your help in designing our NHS for the future and in particular, need patients to become involved with the design of our future hospitals. By becoming a member, which costs nothing, you will receive details of how to get involved in the areas that interest you. We will also invite you to our members' events, keep you up to date, and share all our news - and there is a lot for us to share.

RBCH view 1

The new building at Royal Bournemouth Hospital will include the expanded Emergency Department

Approval of our plans

We were delighted that Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, announced in January that he has accepted the advice of the Independent Reconfiguration Panel to rule in favour of the changes to our hospitals that have been led by NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) as part of the Clinical Services Review (CSR). This means that over time, the Royal Bournemouth Hospital will become the major emergency care hospital and Poole Hospital the major planned care hospital serving the eastern side of Dorset.

Children's and maternity care

This is a very important milestone, and means that we can get on with implementing these truly exciting plans. Our hospitals will receive £147 million capital investment that will enable us to provide much better facilities for patients and staff - including the brand new Maternity Unit that has been a priority for so many years. We will also be establishing a brand new Children's Unit as part of the same building, which means that for the first time, staff in these specialties will be working alongside each other.

Emergency and critical care

This money will also allow us to build a new Emergency Department (ED) at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital - three times the size of the facilities that are on either the Poole or Bournemouth sites. This expanded ED has been designed to cope with the additional emergency patients that are expected over time, and will enable much better flow through the department. There will also be a much bigger Critical Care Unit, so that we are better equipped to care for the most seriously ill patients.

Poole Hospital developments

Poole Hospital is being significantly developed to become a planned care site, delivering first-class care, in facilities that are fit for the 21st century. By separating planned care from emergency care, we can avoid having to cancel operations and so can maintain the shortest possible waiting times. We shall be starting work this year on the expansion and redevelopment of our theatres, using the most innovative designs.

Poole aerial view

Poole Hospital's operating theatres will be expanded and redeveloped

Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC)

There has been much interest in the Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) that is currently being developed at Poole Hospital. This essential modern facility will be open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and is expected to be very busy - treating just under 60,000 patients per annum. The majority of patients who currently walk in and are treated in Poole's ED will still be treated on site in the future. This leaves the major emergency hospital to deal with the very seriously ill and injured patients who will be taken there by ambulance.

We know that there is some interest in the possibility of our developing an 'A&E Local model', a concept which is still being fully defined. We shall of course stay very close to policy and research developments in this area. Our clinicians expect to be shaping the development of the future models for emergency and urgent care. The UTC planned for Poole Hospital will be a very innovative service indeed, expected to treat walk-in patients with a very wide range of injuries, ailments, and conditions.


It will be at least five years before the Poole Emergency Department changes, so there is plenty of time to undertake this work. In the meantime, we shall be involving patients in the detailed design of the service so that we make the most of this opportunity, and establish a service that is really valuable for local people.


Local people already use both hospitals, given that they specialise in different things. We will all continue to use both hospitals in the future. The Ambulance Service has been fully involved and supports these plans, with travel times having been deemed safe. We know that people worry about traffic congestion and we are actively refreshing our Green Travel Plan, working with partners to reduce this. We expect to see better bus links, more cycle paths, an expansion in car sharing, and more people "remote working", which will significantly improve the situation. It is also important to remember that with investment in community services, fewer people will need to come to hospital in order to access care.

Dorset County Hospital

The Dorset CSR set out that Dorset County Hospital (DCH) will continue to be an emergency and planned hospital for its communities with a 24/7 Emergency Department. DCH has plans to expand its Emergency Department and Intensive Care Unit as well as establish an Integrated Care Hub as part of a long-term project to deliver the recommendations of the CSR.

Christchurch Hospital

There will also be major developments at Christchurch Hospital over the next few years. Plans have been developed to provide a new Macmillan Hospice on the site, along with additional and improved NHS hospital facilities, and a retirement living village.

Macmillan hospice

A series of staff and public engagement events were held in January to offer all interested parties the opportunity to view and comment on these plans in advance of submitting a full planning application to BCP Council.

Clinically-led plans

All the plans for developing our hospitals have been clinically led - co-designed by doctors, nurses and other clinical colleagues.

The new arrangements will ensure that we are able to make better use of our skilled workforce and resources, and provide exceptional services for our local population.

We know that our local hospitals are very much loved, and we are very proud of our existing services. Nevertheless, we need to introduce these changes if we are to maintain safe, high quality care in the future.

We now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to use this significant investment to create hospitals that will improve care and be fit for the future. We would love your help in shaping our future, so please do take this opportunity to get involved.

Debbie Fleming, Joint Chief Executive
Matt Thomas, Medical Director, Poole Hospital
Alyson O'Donnell, Medical Director, RBCH

senior team

How to get involved

There are several ways that you can become a member of our Trusts, including visiting the following websites where you can complete an online form.

You can also sign up by completing one of our leaflets, which are situated around both hospitals, doctors surgeries and local libraries. All members will become members of the new organisation (East Dorset Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) irrespective of whether they are currently RBCH members, PHFT members or both.

For more information you can also contact the Trust Secretary's Office at RBCH via or 01202 704246 or the Company Secretary's Office at PHFT via or 01202 442895.