Developing One NHS in Dorset

The vanguard and the people it serves

The vision in Dorset is one of effective and affordable models of care for hospital and community care that meet the needs of local people 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

As an acute care collaboration vanguard, the three district hospital providers in Dorset are aiming to work together as a ‘multi-service joint venture’ to deliver this vision and ensure the future sustainability of health services across the region.

The vanguard partners are three NHS organisations:

  • Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Together they serve a patient population of 766,000.

What is changing?

Clinical networks of health professionals and service teams are being developed to ensure that all patients have faster and equitable access to a consistent, high standard of care, wherever they live.

The aim is to make sure patients’ needs are placed before those of organisations, while at the same time offering better value for money and contributing to financial sustainability for Dorset and the wider NHS.

As well as a reduction in avoidable variations in care, there will also be wider implementation of the same best practice and more sharing of service innovation.

The national vanguard support team is also offering expertise and guidance to the partnership in delivering the workforce developments needed to implement the new clinical models. This includes a potential movement to a single shared rota across the county for some clinical services to ensure the best use of senior clinicians. ‘Job plans’ are also being developed to support the recruitment and retention of high calibre clinicians.

Key benefits

  • Hospital providers work and develop services together to provide the best patient services
  • More support for seven day working
  • Better health outcomes for patients.

Contact Developing One NHS in Dorset

Twitter: @OneNHSinDorset

Case studies

1.    Aligning stroke services for more consistent care

Work is underway to align the acute, post-acute and rehabilitation services for stroke patients offered at the three sites in Dorset.

The aim is to ensure all patients have timely and direct access to investigations, specialist treatment and therapy through hyper acute stroke units.

The vanguard recognised that there are some inequalities across the county, for instance the service available at weekends is variable.  Its ambition is for the whole of Dorset to have equally excellent care.

The three sites currently work independently and have slightly different ways of running.  There is an argument that if the teams work in the same way and align processes they will be more efficient and effective.

However, they will also need to take into account the differing requirements across the county.  For example, Dorchester is very rural compared with the large urban developments of Poole and Bournemouth.

Having consistent specialist stroke care at the weekend will be a big advantage, and in the long term the vanguard hopes that staff will benefit as well as patients, with an improved service and more teamwork leading to better morale.

2.    Developing a county-wide service for non-surgical cancer care

The award of vanguard status has added an extra drive to the development of the Dorset Cancer Alliance, which aims to deliver an innovative, sustainable, county-wide cancer service.

Tamas Hickish, clinical director oncology at Poole Hospital, explained: “We want to build a more uniform service across the whole county with equity of access and standards, offering person-centred care, closer to home, seven days a week.

“The ambition is to provide radiotherapy closer to homes in west Dorset, preventing long journeys to hospital which the team believes may result in some patients deciding against treatment.

“We anticipate the new service will start mid-2017 as we’re just about to enter the procurement phase for a range of therapy satellite centres in Dorchester.

“We’re also keen to provide chemotherapy in the satellite centres and will be setting up pilots.

“We had already been developing a cancer alliance for more collaborative, joined up working, and being a vanguard makes this more powerful. Previously, we were aware that as separate organisations we each had our own finance and workforce issues – the vanguard has helped us solve some of these.

“The very fact of becoming a vanguard means we are starting conversations we weren’t able to have before.”