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Updated 26 July 2023

28 March 2023

Two wards at Dorset County Hospital are merging to create a centre of excellence for the care of older people.

Barnes Ward and Day Lewis Ward will come together as the ‘Mary Anning Unit’ from 3 April 2023. The ward teams have chosen to name their new unit in recognition of the pioneering achievements of celebrated local palaeontologist Mary Anning. The staff are proud that this is the first unit at Dorset County Hospital to be named after a woman.

The new specialist unit will meet the complex care needs of frail older people in an environment that promotes multi-professional support and training.

Sonia Gamblen, Divisional Head of Nursing and Quality, explains the need for a specialist unit: “In England there are 295 older people per 1,000, whereas in Dorset this figure is 527. The population of those aged over 75 is projected to grow by 28% over the next 10 years in Dorset.

“We need to embrace the needs of our older population and create a centre of caring and competence excellence involving our health and social care partners.

“To meet the growing complex needs of older people, the acute hospital ward needs to develop an environment that attracts the very best of skilled staff and provides a place to study, train and create a high performing centre of excellence for frailty.

“Our aim is to recruit, train and retain a multi-professional workforce supporting the whole hospital’s understanding, knowledge and skills around frailty care.

“We want to be able to offer our older patients the best possible care in an environment that suits their specific needs.”

The hospital’s wayfinding signs are being updated to direct people to the new Mary Anning Unit.