A £15 MILLION boost will fund three Dorset health projects in 2019 transforming accommodation for older people, pathology communication upgrades and GP and community services.

The money is being awarded by the Department of Health and has come to the county following a successful bid by Dorset's healthcare authorities as part of its Integrated Healthcare System - a collaboration between hospitals, services and councils.

St Ann’s Hospital in Poole will receive nearly £6 million to update and improve the accommodation provided for elderly patients there.

The pathology service investment of £5 million will be used to make significant improvements to the digital information system that underpins the pathology service across Dorset’s three acute hospitals and its partner hospitals in Hampshire.

Tim Goodson, leader of Dorset’s Integrated Care System, which will take charge of the funding, said the new system would make the sharing of laboratory results much easier and was forecast to save 'up to £2million every year'.

Meanwhile, in Blandford, GP and community services are earmarked to receive a £4.2million community services investment. This will create a hub at Blandford Community Hospital, bringing more services to the hospital and improving access for local communities.

The allocation by the Department of Health follows the award of more than £100million in July last year to support the changes being made to planned and unplanned hospital services following Dorset’s Clinical Services Review.

“This money will support us to take another step forward to improve the quality of health and care services in Dorset," said Mr Goodson. "The three projects being funded are all quite different, showing the scale of our ambition and commitment to delivering the very highest quality services.”

Eugine Yafele, Deputy Chief Executive of Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This investment will enable us to make significant improvements to the quality of care for the older people we serve.

“Not only will it directly improve the service for older people, it will also enable us to consider how we best use all of our mental health estate, which will benefit many more people.”