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Updated 7 March 2024

16 November 2023

A ward at Dorset County Hospital is being transformed into dedicated space for people having elective orthopaedic surgery as part of a drive to reduce waiting times.

Ridgeway Ward is being refurbished into a 24-bedded ward for orthopaedic elective surgery patients.

The £1.4million scheme is being funded by NHS England and is the second phase of a wider £14million project that includes the ongoing work at South Walks House in Dorchester to create a permanent Outpatient Assessment Centre, which will free up clinical space on the main hospital site by offering outpatient clinics, diagnostics and day case procedures.

The refurbishment on Ridgeway Ward will help the Trust reduce waiting times for elective orthopaedic surgery and improve patient outcomes.

Anita Thomas, Chief Operating Officer at Dorset County Hospital, said:

“We are committed to reducing waiting times for patients and are working hard to find ways to do this so we can treat those waiting for surgery more quickly.

“By turning Ridgeway Ward into a dedicated space for elective orthopaedic surgery patients, we will not only reduce waiting times but also the amount of time that people need to stay in hospital, which will help support their recovery.

“The work with our partners to create an Outpatient Assessment Centre has already proved extremely successful, with clinics, non-surgical interventions and additional support to help people stay healthy while awaiting surgery. Once the work at South Walks House is complete, this will also increase the number of services available on that site, helping us to reduce waiting times even further.”

While the work is underway, patients who would normally be treated on Ridgeway Ward are being cared for in the Portesham Unit, which is the new modular building in front of North Wing.

Building contractors will start on site from Monday 20 November. To allow the work to happen, their site compound will be based between the North Wing 1 and South Wing 1 entrances and ambulance drop-off points.

Ambulance drop-offs and the dedicated chemotherapy spaces will be unaffected, and pedestrians will still be able to walk outside between the North Wing 1 and South Wing 1 entrances. However, this area will be closed to all other vehicles while the work is being carried out.

Take a look at this site map which shows the changes to site access during the works.

Anyone dropping off or collecting a patient or visitor will be able to park in spaces nearby next to the new Portesham Unit in front of North Wing Entrance 2.

There are disabled parking bays by the new Portesham Unit and outside other hospital wing entrances, including two rows of bays for Blue Badge holders by the pencils sculpture near East Wing.

The Ridgeway Ward refurbishment is due to be completed in May 2024.