COMMERCIAL: Dorset Healthcare University Foundation Trust has announced it has won the contract to provide community health services across Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole.

The mental health trust took on the provider arms of NHS Bournemouth and Poole and NHS Dorset under transforming community services initiative.

A press release said the decision to award the contracts to the trust had been taken after both PCTs underwent a comprehensive selection process involving staff, patient representatives and GPs.

Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust already provides a wide range of services (many of which are Dorset-wide) including mental health, learning disability, addictions, community brain injury and community dental, as well as some primary care services.

From 1 July, the trust will increase the scope of services it offers, delivering a broader range of care - for example, sexual health promotion, safeguarding children, school nursing, health visitors, district nurses, diabetes education, audiology, speech and language therapy, dermatology, podiatry, orthopaedic, end of life care, prison health care and breastfeeding support services. The trust will also run all community hospitals.

Trust acting chief executive Roy Jackson said: “Merging our existing services with community health services will result in wide ranging benefits for patients and development opportunities to improve patient care for our newly combined staff. It will enable us to develop the concept of ‘whole person’ care, responding to both the physical and mental health needs of individuals.

“A single organisation providing all of Dorset’s community health services will also ensure skill sharing amongst staff and a greater level of personal development and career progression opportunities. In addition, by combining resources, we can avoid unnecessary duplication and provide even greater value for money.”