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East Dorset Health Authority

Volume 205: debated on Monday 9 March 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the expenditure of the East Dorset health authority in 1979 and for the current year; what percentage change in real terms this represents; and if he will make a statement on health services in the Bournemouth area.

The East Dorset health authority was established on 1 April 1982. The annual accounts of the authority show total revenue expenditure of £54·5 million, cash, for 1982–83 and 114·7 million, cash, for 1990–91, the latest year available. These figures represent an increase in real terms of 34·6 per cent. measured at 1991–92 prices.For 1979–80 the annual accounts of the former Dorset area health authority record total revenue expenditure of £54·1 million, cash, compared with £165·9 million, cash, by the successor East and West Dorset health authorities in the financial year 1990–91—an increase in real terms of 41·2 per cent. measured at 1991–92 prices.East Dorset health authority is to be congratulated on its achievements since the commencement of the Government's NHS reforms and I expect the services provided to residents to continue to improve.A major landmark within the Bournemouth area is the opening, in February, of phase II of the new Royal Bournemouth hospital. Phase I, opened in 1989, provided general medical and general surgical beds and enabled the centralisation of vascular surgery and urology services to take place at a later date.Phase II will include a 24-hour accident and emergency service which will be operational by August 1992 and will be additional to the similar service already provided at Poole. This will mean that East Dorset will have two 24-hour accident and emergency services. Increased orthopaedic services together with the existing orthopaedic in-patient facilities transferred from Christchurch hospital and a trauma service for fractured necks will all improve the local services for elderly people.The 24-hour accident and emergency service and the introduction of a low-risk obstetric unit which the authority plan to develop into the first midwife-led maternity unit in the United Kingdom have both been included as a direct response to consumer representations.The extra capacity at the Royal Bournemouth hospital is allowing the authority to offer many added benefits to local residents including reduced waiting times for out-patients. Since April 1991, the total number of people in East Dorset waiting for more than one year for in-patient treatment has reduced by over 50 per cent. and by 31 March 1992 is expected to represent only 6 per cent. of all people waiting.The number of people awaiting treatment for more than two years has reduced by 90 per cent. and there will be no people waiting for more than two years by the end of March 1992.