Millions of pounds worth of funding has been put towards a new outpatient centre which will help reduce hospital waiting times.

Dorset County Hospital (DCH) has opened its newly refurbished Outpatient Assessment Centre at South Walks House - the former offices of Dorset Council - in Dorchester.

The hospital trust received more than £14 million 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.

The funding has been used to expand and enhance the centre and 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.

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

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Phlebotomy RoomPhlebotomy Room (Image: DCH)

Chief Operating Officer at DCH, 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.”Bridport and Lyme Regis News: X-RaysX-Rays (Image: DCH)

Existing clinical teams will be moving into the centre ‘which will free up clinical space on the main hospital site so staff can use the space more effectively.’

A few new members of staff have also been recruited to work on-site.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Clinic RoomClinic Room (Image: DCH)The first of the 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.

READ MORE: £13m funding for clinics in South Walks House, Dorchester

Arts University Bournemouth students were invited to design the internal artwork of the centre, in order to create a welcoming space and help patients find their way around.

Volunteers will also be on hand at the centre to offer support.

The premises at South Walks House was the previous Dorset Council headquarters in Dorchester.