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There is some work underway to improve the Emergency Department (ED) in the next few months, plus plans to further expand the department over the next five years.

The Trust has received one-off funding from NHS England of £15million, as part of a drive to upgrade a number of Emergency Departments across the country.

The scheme aims to enhance infection prevention and control measures and reduce the risk of 'corridor care' by increasing the capacity of the resuscitation and treatment areas.

The Emergency Department was built for 22,000 attendances per year, however in a normal year we see close to 50,000 people

The refurbishment will help improve the Emergency Department now and help us prepare for our longer-term plan to further expand ED to serve the growing population and meet the needs of the Clinical Service Review.

The building alterations, carried out by contractors Wilmott Dixon, include two extensions - one in the courtyard at the rear of ED and one at the front entrance - and refurbishment of the existing ED.

These will provide more clinical spaces, including larger resuscitation rooms and bigger cubicles, improve patient flow and provide staff with better support facilities.

The refurbishment work has been planned in a way that minimises disruption, making sure that the ED remains open 24/7 and is expected to be completed in summer 2022.

In June, the Trust relocated its minor injuries team to Weymouth Hospital while the refurbishment work takes place. Dorchester emergency department is still available 24/7 for serious and life-threatening injuries and conditions.

The service at the urgent treatment centre at Weymouth is open from 8am until midnight every day for the duration of the Dorchester refurbishment work, which is expected to be completed in summer 2022.