The unit has been designed by global design practice, BDP, and will be built by Tilbury Douglas. The Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s ‘Your Future Hospital’ programme sets out plans to expand facilities on the site and help meet increasing demand. These include building a new Emergency Department (ED) and Critical Care Unit (CrCU) on the site of the former Damers First School as part of the New Hospital Programme. It will include a rooftop helipad, purpose-built spaces for both major and minor injuries and conditions, a mental health facility, a dedicated emergency paediatrics area, 24 critical care beds, and an ambulance arrivals and fast assessment area. The Trust submitted its reserved matters application to Dorset Council over the summer after receiving outlining planning permission in January. Now these have now been approved, DCH has full planning permission to build the new Emergency Department. Subject to full business case approval by the Government, main construction work is due to begin in 2024.
Nick Durham, Architect director at BDP, said: “The design of these new specialist facilities is based on creating flexible spaces that can adapt to changing patterns of demand, supporting a model of care focused on reducing pressure on these services. 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.”
Paul Gale, Divisional director at Tilbury Douglas, said: “Achieving the green light from the planners is a really exciting moment, not only for the local community, but also for the project teams whose dedicated work has secured this life-changing resource. Our teams are geared up for the next stages of construction, and we’re looking forward to moving ahead with enabling works and the main New Hospital Programme scheme on site.”
The former Damers School building was demolished over the summer, and groundworks to prepare the site for development will begin this month (October).
The planning application also includes the Trust’s longer-term aspirations to improve the hospital’s main entrance, and provide integrated care and key worker housing for staff.