£2.5m hospital appeal launching at Dorset County Show

A £2.5 MILLION fundraising appeal to help emergency care patients and their families at Dorset County Hospital (DCH) is set to be launched.

The Dorset County Hospital Charity is launching the Emergency and Critical Care Appeal at the 2023 Dorset County Show.

The three-year appeal is funding major enhancements to the new Emergency Department and Critical Care Unit, shortly to commence construction at DCH.

Extra facilities for the new unit include relatives’ overnight accommodation and a patient garden, as well as rest accommodation and welfare facilities for clinical staff.

Additional facilities will also be funded for the new Emergency Department, as well as artistically designed elements in both new units to ‘help create a sympathetic and healing environment for the benefit of all’.

The new Emergency Department and Critical Care Unit, funded through the government’s New Hospital Programme, will be built in a bid to significantly increase capacity and transform the experience of the patients.

It is the largest capital investment at the Dorchester hospital since it opened on the current site in 1998 and will provide custom-built, state-of-the-art facilities in both departments.

Dr Steve Meek, consultant emergency physician in the DCH Emergency Department, said: “Last year our Emergency teams looked after over 50,000 patients – the facility was originally built for less than half that number – just 22,000.

“We know attending the Emergency Department as a patient can be a stressful experience and a cramped layout and crowded waiting areas can create more anxiety.

“In the new plan both the capacity and layout of the department will be greatly improved.”

Dr David Quick, a consultant in anaesthetics and critical care medicine, said: “The new Critical Care Unit will provide a facility that is purpose built to enhance the care for patients, to provide families with support and access to their loved ones and provide an environment for the staff to work to their full potential.”

Dorset County Show chair, Nicki Ralph, has selected Dorset County Hospital Charity’s Emergency & Critical Care Appeal as the event’s Charity of the Year.

Dave Underwood, Jo Howarth and Dr David Quick - Dorset County Show Charity Night

Dave Underwood, Jo Howarth and Dr David Quick at the Dorset County Show Charity Night

Show organiser, James Cox, said: “The experiences of our Chair Nicki and her husband have highlighted the fact none of us know when we may need critical care.

“To have state-of-the-art resources on hand at our local hospital makes us incredibly fortunate.

“We’re delighted to fundraise for this fantastic cause.”

Simon Pearson, DCH head of charity, said: “This is our biggest ever fundraising appeal, which will significantly enhance patient care and staff welfare.

“To make this appeal successful we need the support of the local community.

“There will be many opportunities for individuals, community groups and local businesses to support the appeal over the next three years and we invite anyone interested in finding out more to contact us directly.”

To find out more about supporting the DCH Emergency and Critical Care Appeal, visit or email

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