AN IMPROVED hospital unit which aims to reduce anxiety for patients has been officially opened at Poole Hospital.

BBC South presenter Sally Taylor performed the official opening ceremony at the Harbourside Ambulatory Gynaecology Centre.

It will reduce waiting times for gynaecology patients due to additional treatment bays and access to specialist services.

A 10-week renovation project has transformed the unit, which is part of a £1million investment programme at the hospital.

It has been financed by national capital funding from NHS Improvement, to increase capacity and flow by reconfiguring several departments.

The refurbished centre was first opened to patients on February 4 but the official opening ceremony has only just taken place.

Sally Taylor said: “To come today and to have something so positive to talk about is very special for me and I’m really grateful that you’ve asked me to come.

“It’s always the staff who make a place special but when the environment is improved – and that is certainly the case here – it does make a difference.

“The future looks great and I’ll know you’ll be going from strength-to-strength.”

Benita Fillingham, the unit’s sister, has led the team during the development.

She said: “It has been a privilege to lead such a passionate team through this exciting new development of gynaecology services.

“The team now looks forward to increasing its activity further to meet the growing demand for our specialist services.

“These latest improvements will provide the women of Dorset with expert gynaecology services in a dedicated, purpose-built unit providing patients with faster access to treatment and an improved experience.”

Sally Taylor performed a cake-cutting ceremony watched by Debbie Fleming, the interim joint Chief Executive of both Poole and the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Trusts.

Also present for the official opening ceremony were Tim Hillard, clinical lead for gynaecology, Patricia Reid, director of nursing, and many of the unit’s staff