A £1.4 MILLION project is underway in a bid to cut waiting times at a Dorset hospital.
A ward at Dorset County Hospital, in Dorchester, is being transformed into dedicated space for people having elective orthopaedic surgery.
Ridgeway Ward is being refurbished into a 24-bedded ward for orthopaedic elective surgery patients.
Funded by NHS England, the scheme is the second phase of a wider £14m 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 reduce waiting times for elective orthopaedic surgery and improve patient outcomes, according to Anita Thomas, chief operating officer at the hospital.
“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,” she went on.
“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 work is underway, patients who would normally be treated on Ridgeway Ward are being cared for in the Portesham Unit, a new modular building in front of North Wing.
Building contractors will start on site from November 20, with a site compound 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.
Anyone dropping off 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 also 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 next year.