Dorset County Hospital NHS Trust in the UK has received £62.5m from the government funding to expand clinical services at its Dorchester site.

The project includes expansion of the Emergency Department (ED) and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and construction of an Integrated Care Hub. This expansion is intended to cater to an increasing number of patients.

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The funds had been allocated as part of the national Health Infrastructure Plan.

Dorset County Hospital Strategy, Transformation and Partnerships director Nick Johnson said: “Our existing Emergency Department and ICU were not built to accommodate the volume of patients we are seeing now.

“Our clinical teams have responded magnificently to the additional challenges coronavirus has brought, but it is now more clear than ever that we must create additional space and facilities to ensure the safety of our patients.”

The hospital said that its emergency department was meant for 22,000 patients per year but was receiving almost 50,000 people before the Covid-19 outbreak, according to BBC.

It had temporarily expanded ED and ICU during the outbreak.

The first phase of the project involves freeing up of land on the hospital site by building a multi-storey car park. The planning application for the multi-storey was submitted to Dorset Council in October last year is due to be heard in August this year.

Johnson added: “However, before we can progress with this major building programme we need to free up space on the hospital site by constructing a multi-storey car park to accommodate the lost spaces and improve parking for patients, visitors and staff.

“Anyone visiting our hospital knows that parking has been an issue for many years so we simply cannot build on our car parks without replacing the spaces.”

The hospital is working to employ local people and local suppliers for the project, which could bring more than £4m into the local economy.