DORSET has been awarded more than £100m of capital funding by NHS England to carry out a controversial proposed shake-up of health services.

The capital award to Dorset is one of only 25 allocations being made across England.

Tim Goodson, leader of Dorset Sustainability and Transformation Programme (STP) and chief executive of Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said it recognises Dorset’s progress to provide better care for local people through joined up working across health, social care and the voluntary sector.

He said: “The announcement that Dorset will receive this substantial capital allocation is a major step forward to improving the quality of health and care for local people.

“We have listened to what people have told us in response to the recent public consultation on the future of health services across Dorset and expect to make a decision at the September CCG Governing Body meeting. This investment means we will be able to take forward our plans with local people to transform our services across the county.”

Dorset’s STP includes its Clinical Services Review (CSR) proposals to make Royal Bournemouth Hospital a major emergency centre with Poole Hospital for planned care and the reduction of community hospitals to ‘provide care closer to home.’ There are also changes proposed to acute mental health services and primary care services which could see the number of GP surgery sites more than halved from 131 to between just 36 and 69 to create ‘hubs’.

The national announcement comes following visits to Dorset by both Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health and Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS England’s Medical Director.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "This funding will support strong local plans to help the NHS modernise and transform care for patients.

"A measure of success of these transformation partnerships is that people can see and feel improvements being made in their local area – there are already excellent examples of this across the country and this money will allow them to go further and faster."

NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens said: "Today we’re firing the starting gun on the first wave of major service upgrades and care redesign which will benefit people living in counties, towns and cities across England. For patients it’ll mean easier GP appointments, modern A&Es, and better cancer and mental health care. For staff, we’re putting our money where our mouth is in backing these practical plans developed by doctors, nurses and local NHS leaders.

"This is the first down payment of much needed investment in modern equipment and NHS facilities, with more promised in the autumn and beyond. Today is proof positive that when you back the NHS with investment, both patients and taxpayers see the practical benefits."