About us

Dorset HealthCare is responsible for all mental health services and many physical health services in Dorset, delivering both hospital and community-based care. We are the biggest provider of healthcare in Dorset, and our services continually evolve and develop to meet the needs of the local community.

We serve a population of almost 700,000 people and employ around 5,000 staff, covering a wide range of expertise and specialisms. Our staff provide healthcare at over 300 sites, ranging from village halls and GP surgeries to mental health inpatient hospitals and community hospitals - as well as in people's homes.

Dorset HealthCare's services include:

  • Dorset's 12 community hospitals and minor injuries units
  • Adult and children's community health services (physical and mental)
  • Specialist learning disability services
  • Community brain injury services
  • Addiction services.

Our community health services encompass: district nurses, health visitors, school nursing, end of life care, sexual health promotion, safeguarding children, diabetes education, audiology, speech and language therapy, dermatology, podiatry, orthopaedic services, wheelchair services, anti-coagulation services, pulmonary rehab, early discharge stroke services, Parkinsons care, community oncology and breastfeeding support services.

Our annual income is around £253 million.

We have University Trust status and work collaboratively with Bournemouth University to provide benefits for patients and staff. Our University Trust status supports us in providing innovative care, promoting clinical excellence, and attracting and retaining high-quality staff. The Trust also has active relationships with Southampton University and St Loyes.

How we are governed and regulated

Dorset HealthCare became a Foundation Trust on 1 April 2007. As a Foundation Trust, we are authorised and regulated by NHS Improvement, which supports Trusts to ensure they are well-governed and financially robust.

We are also registered without restrictive conditions with the Care Quality Commission, which is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

The Trust's activities are overseen by the Trust Board. The Board works closely with our Governors to ensure the Trust is accountable to the community it serves.

How does the NHS work across England?

With 1.2 million staff delivering a wide range of services to a population of 54.3 million people, explaining how the NHS works across England is a complicated task.

The Kings Fund have produced an Alternative Guide to the NHS to how the NHS in England works and how it’s changing.

You can find out more about the NHS in England at the NHS Choices website.