DORSET County Hospital's emergency department is to be redeveloped thanks to a funding boost worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

It comes as the service is under increasing pressure, seeing more patients than ever before, and staff are working hard to cope with demand.

The funding is a slice of £145m made available by the government for hospitals across the country to enable them to prepare for winter demand.

DCH Chief Executive Patricia Miller said: “Staff throughout the hospital work extremely hard to ensure our emergency access times remain among the best in the country, but we are under increasing pressure with more patients than ever before coming through our doors.

“We welcome this funding boost of £725,000 which will help us redevelop our Emergency Department so the facilities can better cope with the volume of patients. As part of the project we will be increasing the clinical space as well as increasing our capacity through the use of medical and IT devices. We are still expecting an extremely tough winter ahead though and, as always, we appeal to people to use their local health services appropriately. The Emergency Department is there for serious and life-threatening injuries and conditions – minor injury units, urgent care centres, GPs and pharmacies are available for anything less serious. People can call 111 if they are unsure which service to use.

“While this funding will help us to move forward with our Emergency Department development plans, like most hospitals and the NHS as a whole, we are still facing a significant financial challenge this year. We are putting all our efforts into identifying ways to make further savings and efficiencies while maintaining safe, high quality services.”

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock added: “Staff put in a huge amount of work preparing our health service for the challenge of treating more patients over winter and it’s right that we make sure they have the resources they need so people receive the care they deserve.

“That’s why I will be providing an additional £145 million now to upgrade wards, redevelop A&Es and further improve emergency care in time for winter.

“And through the long-term plan for the NHS we will go further, providing an extra £20.5 billion a year by 2023 to 2024 to transform care for patients and guarantee the future of our health service.”