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Updated 9 November 2023

13 July 2023

Following outline planning permission being granted in January 2023, the latest designs for Dorset County Hospital's new Emergency Department (ED) and Critical Care Unit (CrCU) are with Dorset Council.

The scheme is part of the Government's New Hospital Programme, which commits to building 40 new hospitals by 2030.

The reserved matters application provides planners with further details relating to the layout, appearance, and scale of the building, as well as details about access roads.

Main contractor Tilbury Douglas is carrying out demolition works on the former Damers School site next to the existing hospital, which is where the new building will be situated.

The new ED and CrCU, which has been designed by global multidisciplinary design practice BDP, will include a majors unit, minor injuries space, mental health facility, dedicated emergency paediatrics area, 24 critical care beds , paediatric space in critical care, ambulance offload and fast assessment area and a rooftop helipad.

Subject to approval from planners and the Government, main construction is due to begin in 2024.

Tristan Chapman, Programme Director at Dorset County Hospital, said:

“We’re excited to be moving forward with our plans for a new Emergency Department and Critical Care Unit. Our reserved matters application provides planners with more details about the scheme following outline planning permission being granted earlier this year.

“Demolition works are also now underway on the former Damers School site, which is another milestone for the project and brings us closer to starting main building works.

“This expansion will improve care for patients and help the Trust to attract and retain staff who want to provide high quality specialist healthcare in modern facilities.”

Nick Durham, architect director at BDP, who is working on the plans with the Trust, said:

“These new specialist facilities have been designed to support the delivery of efficient and effective emergency and critical care for the people of Dorchester.  The design is based on creating flexible spaces that can adapt to changing patterns of demand, supporting a model of care that is focused on reducing pressure on emergency and critical care services.

“Over the past 12 months we have undertaken an inclusive and engaging consultation process with staff and wider stakeholders, drawing on technologies such as virtual reality to ensure the design proposals are an accurate representation of their needs.”

BDP has significant experience in designing large scale, complex healthcare projects.

Paul Gale, Divisional Director at Tilbury Douglas, said: “It's great to be hitting another milestone on this project, with the demolition well under way on site and our local supply chain partners are doing a great job. The site is championing our health, safety and environmental standards to ensure the safe delivery of this vital project for Dorchester, the surrounding area and its community.

“It’s been a pleasure working with the key stakeholders of the new scheme, and the latest plans are a brilliant collaborative achievement. We're now looking forward to the completion of the demolition and enabling works to begin the main construction phase."

Find out more about the scheme, including the latest plans, on our dedicated webpage.

To view the reserved matters application, visit Dorset Council's planning portal.

Artist impression of new ED and Critical Care Unit