THE 'NEW and different' life of Poole Hospital will include the south coast's most advanced operating theatre complex including a 'barn' theatre where four operations can take place simultaneously.

Full details of the transition from Poole's current status as a general hospital with a full-blown A&E to the centre for planned operations and treatments in East Dorset with an Urgent Treatment Centre will be revealed at an all-day public event taking place at Poole hospital today.

However, the Daily Echo has been given a preview of the hospital's new facilities and the thinking which has prompted them, all of which is part of the £147 million project to merge the two trusts which started in 2017.

Director of transformation, Steve Killen, said: "We will gain new space equivalent to the size of eight tennis courts with 10 new and much bigger state-of-the-art operating theatres with the rest being refurbished."

He said that the new theatres would increase by up to 142 per cent in size for the simple reason that standards had improved and: "The advent of technology means the spaces need to be bigger to accommodate al the equipment and monitors we use now."

It also means that unlike the current situation where flu, sudden staff shortage or a large-scale emergency meant planned operations being cancelled, moving most planned care to Poole meant this was far less likely to happen.

Perhaps the most surprising change for some patients will be the 'barn theatre' which will have four tables, meaning up to four operations with four teams can take place at once.

Mr Killen said the concept has been used for around eight years at Liverpool's Broadgreen Hospital.

"When you do a lot of orthopaedic work, for instance, it's all very similar, you can operate in new way of working," he said.

"It sounds strange but each table is separated by its own curtain with infection control, so it's completely sanitised and you get a number of benefits," he said.

These could be anything from having additional surgeons immediately to hand to help with a complication, or, if a problem does arise, there is far less likelihood of an operation being cancelled because the patient will move to the next available table.

"It is more efficient and means we can do more operations," he said.

The concept has been in practised at Liverpool's Broadgreen Hospital, which Bournemouth and Poole clinicians have visited, along with other hospitals in the UK.

Poole Hospital's Chief Operating Officer, Mark Mould, said he was 'really excited' about the merger but understood people had many questions.

"I always say that if you walk into Poole at the moment then in the future, you'll be walking into Poole," he said. "However, if you get picked up by an ambulance you are going to Bournemouth Hospital."