MAJOR plans have been submitted to expand Royal Bournemouth Hospital which could create up to 800 new jobs.
Part of the controversial proposed shake-up of NHS services across Dorset, the hospital has been earmarked for transformation into an emergency care hub, writes Josh Wright of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
The planning application features a six-storey extension housing new paediatric, maternity and intensive care units alongside an expanded emergency department and a new multi-storey car park.
The project forms part of the proposed £147m overhaul of the NHS in the county, including specialising Poole Hospital as a planned care centre with Bournemouth being more focused on acute care.
Submitted by the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals Trust, the application seeks permission for the extension at the main entrance to the hospital.
Six-hundred spaces would be provided in the new multi-storey car park planned to be built on top of the car park adjacent to Castle Land East, replacing those lost as a result of the expansion of the hospital building.
More than 800 jobs would be created, according to the application.
The trust said its staff had been “regularly involved” in the process of drawing up plans to create the “ideal” location for each department.
A statement submitted with the application on behalf of the trust says: “The proposed changes represent a significant investment in the future healthcare provision for the whole of Dorset.
“The process undertaken to create a design proposal involved regularly liaising with the clinicians from each of the departments.
“This allowed them to express their views and ensure each department was designed in a way that would provide the best patient environment, maximise efficiency and increase staff performance.”
It adds that the new intensive care unit would have 30 beds – six more than currently provided across both Bournemouth and Poole hospitals.
The new maternity unit would include six birthing rooms, two of which would be specially designed for twins.
Paediatric care would be provided on the top floor of the extension.
Current plans would see the A&E department at Poole Hospital downgraded to an urgent treatment centre.
However, concerns have been raised the impact longer travelling times could have on the health of seriously ill people travelling from further east in the county.
Opposition to the overhaul of services prompted health secretary Matt Hancock to request “initial advice” from the Independent Reconfiguration Panel on the changes
Planning officers at BCP Council will consider the applications for both hospitals in the coming months.