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Dorset County Hospital, Dorset

Vanguard's mobile operating theatre facility helps reduce waiting lists at Dorset County Hospital.

The need

Dorset County Hospital is a busy, modern hospital and the main provider of acute hospital services to a population of around 250,000 in the local area. As part of its services, the hospital takes care of dental work for patients with learning disabilities and certain mental health, medical or physical health problems, on behalf of Somerset NHS Foundation Trust.

This type of work is demanding and can be difficult to schedule into theatres, so to quickly reduce the number of paediatric and adult patients with special needs awaiting dental procedures, the hospital asked Vanguard to provide a temporary solution.

The plan

A decision was made to bring a mobile operating theatre onto the hospital site for a period of 20 weeks. The theatre would be used for dental work, including surgery and extractions, on primarily paediatric patients with special needs, which were classed as major Day Surgery cases.

The short lead time between the decision and the facility arriving on site, meant the Trust needed to work closely with Vanguard to prepare for its arrival, including setting up utility connections and a new process for moving patients through the hospital. The theatre was to be located in the Day Surgery car park, with a connection to the main hospital via a covered walkway.

The Vanguard solution

A mobile operating theatre facility was delivered to Dorset County Hospital, providing dedicated space for undertaking paediatric dental surgery in order to reduce waiting lists. The setup went smoothly and the theatre was operational within a month of the contract being signed.

In addition to the theatre space, the Healthcare Space also contained an adjoining anaesthetic room and a recovery area with 3 bays. The facility, which was in operation 5 days a week for 9-10 hours each day, was decorated with colourful stickers to increase its appeal for paediatric patients.

Vanguard also provided nursing staff for the theatre, including two permanent members of staff with intimate knowledge of the mobile facility. This ensured the effective management of the Healthcare Space and allowed any questions or issues to be resolved quickly.

The outcome

In total, 780 challenging dental procedures were undertaken in the mobile theatre over the 20-week contract. As a result, the Trust were able to substantially reduce its waiting lists for this type of procedure before the end of the year, as planned.

Both management and staff at Dorset County Hospital were pleased with the mobile solution. The facility was found to be practical in terms of layout, and Vanguard’s staff were considered a great addition to the hospital’s own team.

Georgina Randall, Deputy Head of Theatres at Dorset County Hospital, said: “I would have a Vanguard theatre again in a heartbeat.

“One of the main reasons it worked so well for us is that Vanguard’s staff quickly built great relationships with the hospital own staff; not only within the theatre, but also with porters and staff in the sterilisation and pharmacy facilities. This meant the whole operation ran smoothly from start to finish.”

Project statistics


challenging dental procedures undertaken in facility


population served by hospital


week contract

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