This merger has been nine years in the making, with an earlier proposal prohibited by the Competition and Markets Authority. Since then, the two trusts have been working with partners across Dorset to develop a compelling future vision for the transformation of services. Clinicians and staff across both trusts, along with key local stakeholders, are now very clear that the merger will bring about significant benefits for patients.
Each hospital – Poole Hospital, the Royal Bournemouth Hospital and Christchurch Hospital – will retain its own name, and will benefit from significant future investment, planned for all three sites as part of the trust’s ambitious capital programme.
The new organisation is designated as a ‘university hospital trust’, having formalised the links with Bournemouth University that both hospital trusts have enjoyed for many years. This reinforces the commitment of the new organisation to expanding research, fostering innovation and prioritising education and training.
The new University Hospitals Dorset employs more than 9,000 staff and has an annual turnover of more than £630m.
Debbie Fleming, chief executive, said, “University Hospital Dorset NHS Foundation Trust will be a stronger, more resilient organisation, which means we will be able to deliver much improved services for our patients. The new trust will be a great place to work, and we expect to see talented individuals from across the country choosing to join us, and be part of the exciting transformation plans in Dorset.
“Today marks a watershed moment for acute hospital care in this area.”
To mark the occasion, a virtual celebration event was held for staff and public, hosted by Debbie and trust chairman David Moss. It included contributions from national and regional NHS chiefs and messages of support from health and social care partners. There were many good wishes sent in by former colleagues and supporters – including some famous faces such as actor Guy Henry, patron of the Poole Hospital Cancer Treatment Trust, and local resident and former football manager Harry Redknapp. The celebrations included the release of a film and a new poem, specially written for the occasion and featuring more than 60 staff from across the three hospitals.
Professor John Vinney, vice-chancellor of Bournemouth University, said: “We have a long history of close working with both trusts, and have been doing so very effectively for many years. This joint work has included training staff, jointly publishing research and working together to enrich society and focus on societal benefit.
“Both organisations have a huge amount in common in terms of our ambitions and our vision and we really look forward to working even more closely as part of a new partnership with University Hospitals Dorset.”
To support the merger, the hospital has issued new phone numbers to all staff, which will show as calls from 0300 019 numbers, and new email addresses ending in @uhd.nhd.uk. Old and new email and phone numbers will run side by side for the next few months.
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