Our hospitals need to think big if we are to tackle our growing waiting lists. We had to cancel many outpatient appointments over the last year because our focus was on COVID-19 and providing emergency care. Our waiting list is now around 45,000 patients, and we know how long some have been waiting and how hard this can be. We are determined to do everything we can to help work through our waiting list as quickly as possible.

For patients at University Hospitals Dorset we are looking to create a safe environment for our clinical staff to provide face-to-face care for these patients, while also providing privacy and dignity in a COVID-secure way.

Dorset health organisations are delighted to have opened the new temporary Outpatient Assessment Centre at South Walks House in Dorchester. The centre for rapid access clinics is operating out of the ground floor of the former Dorset Council offices for six months as part of a county-wide effort to tackle NHS waiting lists. The initiative is being led by Dorset County Hospital in partnership with NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group, Dorset HealthCare, LiveWell Dorset and Active Dorset, and brings together a range of outpatient services under one roof in the town centre location. Patients are being invited to attend orthopaedic, musculoskeletal and physiotherapy appointments at the centre, and can access a wealth of health and wellbeing information and advice while they are there. There is also dedicated space for clinicians to conduct virtual appointments with patients through video and telephone calls.

Waiting Well

The coronavirus response has had a significant impact on the services we can provide to our patients, but we have been working extremely hard to restart activities that were paused during the pandemic. Inevitably we are now facing some long waiting times for routine surgery within a number of specialities and work is under way to address this backlog with extra clinics and surgical sessions. We understand the impact longer waits have on our patients and we apologise for the inconvenience of any delay in treatment. When you are waiting for further treatment it can sometimes feel like a long wait. Dorset County Hospital has put together information to help you manage that wait so you arrive for your appointment in the best possible physical and mental health.

Waiting Well – Dorset County Hospital