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Health trust awarded university status

13 July 2010

Nurse chatting with patient A Dorset-based NHS Foundation Trust has recieved University status thanks to support from BU.

Dorset HealthCare NHS Foundation Trust has been awarded University Status in recognition of the extensive education and research it undertakes.  The Trust will now become Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust.

Becoming a University Trust will enable the Trust to provide even better care services, by continually improving already high clinical standards.  Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust and Bournemouth University will work more closely together and promote better treatment and care for service users and their carers.  It will also support the involvement and participation of service users and their carers in developing local services.

“We are delighted to have gained University Trust status; it has been a key strategic aim of ours and one that we have been working towards since 2007.  The relationship between the Trust and the School of Health and Social Care at Bournemouth University has been well established over four decades and is both positive and productive," said Roger Browning, Chief Executive, Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust.

Professor Gail Thomas, Dean of the School of Health & Social Care at Bournemouth University commented: “This very pleasing change is the result of hard work to demonstrate the strong commitment on behalf of both organisations, with the ultimate aim being to improve care for patients and service users. The Trust’s new title reflects strong partnership working in the areas of research, education and practice development with our NHS colleagues. This will be of benefit to staff and students but, more importantly, to those in need of high quality, evidence based care.”

Becoming a University Trust enables Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust to continue to maintain a balance between a business approach, with its long standing emphasis on continuous staff professional development, and its prime focus on providing high quality care and support for local people.

The affiliation with Bournemouth University will offer the opportunity to develop new undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, high quality clinical placements and inter-professional learning and practice.  It will also bring together clinical and academic staff to undertake research which will underpin the development of practice and aid in the recruitment and retention of high calibre staff with the right skills and qualifications.

The Trust and the University have already established a University Department of Mental Health based in the Trust as part of the Bournemouth University School of Health and Social Care. Professor Sue Clarke will arrive in September to lead the Department as both organisations look forward to collaborating more closely together now that the relationship has been formalised. 

Future collaborative opportunities may involve a range of healthcare management courses, with University Accreditation and potential for both organisations to market some training to secure additional income for local services.  It is also envisaged that other Academic Schools within the University will be involved in projects with the Trust as the relationship develops in the months ahead.

Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust provides integrated mental health and specialist learning disability services, addictions services, community brain injury, community dental services and some primary care services for the majority of Dorset, including Bournemouth and Poole.

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