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Updated 10 June 2024

19 February 2024

Dorset County Hospital (DCH) has opened its newly refurbished Outpatient Assessment Centre at South Walks House in Dorchester.

The Trust received more than £14million from the NHS England Elective Recovery and Community Diagnostics Programme to transform two floors of the building into permanent clinical space after signing a 20-year lease with Dorset Council.

DCH started running a pop-up Outpatient Assessment Centre on one floor of the building in November 2021. This was initially set up as a temporary measure to tackle NHS waiting lists and was created as part of a partnership between NHS Dorset, Dorset HealthCare, Active Dorset and LiveWell Dorset.

The funding has been used to expand and enhance the centre. There are now two floors of dedicated clinical space that will allow the Trust to run more outpatient clinics and offer diagnostics appointments (such as x-rays and scans), as well as day case local anaesthetic procedures and general health and wellbeing services.

Arts University Bournemouth students designed the internal artwork to create a welcoming space and help patients find their way around, and volunteers will also be on hand to offer support.

The facility is based in the town centre, next to the library and close to local shops and businesses.

Dorset County Hospital’s Chief Operating Officer, Anita Thomas, said:

“We are delighted that our new Outpatient Assessment Centre has opened at South Walks House. It will give us additional clinical space and facilities to reduce waiting times for outpatient and diagnostic appointments, and ensure patients receive the right care and treatment more quickly.

“Clinicians across different specialties will work together to find the best treatment options for patients. People will be signposted to the services they need on the day, so they can see the healthcare professionals they need at the same appointment.

“Patients will also be able to access a wealth of health and wellbeing information and advice on-site which will support their treatment.”

The first clinics to be held at the new centre include orthopaedics, rheumatology, musculoskeletal physiotherapy, orthotics and phlebotomy, with many more due to run from there in the coming months.

Find out more about the Outpatient Assessment Centre.

Staff outside South Walks House Outpatient Assessment Centre
Clinic room with bed and chairs. Yellow walls
X-ray equipment