DORSET MPs met with Health Secretary Matt Hancock to press for immediate funding for Dorset County Hospital.

Richard Drax, MP for South Dorset, together with Chris Loder, MP for West Dorset, asked Mr Hancock for urgent, interim seed funding towards the redevelopment and expansion of Dorset County Hospital’s Emergency Department and Intensive Care Unit.

Drax and Loder accompanied DCH CEO, Patricia Miller, and DCH Chairman, Mark Addison to see the Secretary of State, in a bid for a downpayment of £2-£3 million for immediate updates and improvements to the ED and ICU, before the confirmed £62 million of capital funding comes onstream in 2025.

Mr Drax said: “Ms Miller laid out the project and what it would provide, including a larger waiting area, a dedicated paediatric waiting area, two paediatric cubicles and an additional resuscitation room. Within the ICU, they could relocate coronary care and create a six-bedded high dependency unit.

"Ms Miller also emphasised that while the £62 million will be hugely welcome in 2025, doing nothing until 2025 is not a viable option, given the pressure on ED/ICU which already treats twice as many people as it was built for.

"Demand is expected to rise to 60,000 over the next five years, which will further increase the safety risk and overcrowding. A modest downpayment now would ease the pressure and allow the departments to continue functioning in the intervening years.

"Also, while Dorset appears prosperous, we have 11 areas in our council area which come within the top 20 nationally for social deprivation.

"As Ms Miller put it, DCH is an ‘anchor institution for the community, providing not just health services, but also employment and a significant contribution to the local economy.’ We need to support that economy.”

Mr Hancock said this was exactly the kind of project which deserves funding from central government and that we should approach the Chancellor to request an early draw down.

“I have, of course, immediately written to the Chancellor, enclosing Ms Miller’s briefing, and hope for a positive answer shortly.”