September is historically a busy month for PPGs, with many groups gearing up to support their practice with flu jabs (and covid where offered!), newsletters and other autumn activities. However, some activities were postponed due to the sad loss of our wonderful Queen.

Many PPG meetings are now back to being held in person and we’ve been busy travelling the county catching up with groups and learning about the great initiatives they’re involved with!

The Lyme PPG have been developing links to their local secondary school to have the youth voice at PPG meetings. The Gillingham PPG welcomed a new PPG member, discussed the PPG’s presence at the Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show, and spoke highly about the Wellbeing One Stop clinic. They also talked about planning for their autumn event which this time would celebrate the work of local volunteers.

There were several Primary Care Network (PCN) PPG meetings this month including mid-Dorset, Purbeck, and Weymouth & Portland. Gill also hosted the cross-PCN PPG leads group (comprising Christchurch, Poole Central, Poole North, Poole Bay & Bournemouth, and Crane Valley PCNs) and North Dorset PPG leads group (comprising Sherborne, The Vale and Blandford PCNs). These meetings are a great way to enable PPG leads to network, share local knowledge and information.

Carers were a popular topic at PPG meetings in September. Staff and PPG members in the mid-Dorset Primary Care Network (PCN) heard about the Better Care for Carers initiative and working group being set up. The Weymouth & Portland PPG chairs group were introduced to a Carers Lead in the PCN and discussed how they can support carers and GP practices.

We attended a webinar organised by NHS England called PPGs – the art of the possible, which is helping to raise the profile of PPG nationally. At the national PPG energisers meeting we continued to promote the great work going on in Dorset!

Jim had a PPG information stall at a dementia awareness in Weymouth and talked to many fellow stallholders and event attendees about all things PPG! Gill presented to Public Health Dorset on the role of the Engagement & Communications Coordinator and how to support practices in forming or revitalising their PPG.

An image of a PPG banner and leaflets on a table

Outside of work both Jim and Gill had holidays in September – separately! Jim took a week off to discover more of Dorset, some highlights included a jet-boat to Durdle Door, a visit to the Tank Museum and Clouds hill along with visiting some great restaurants! Gill spent a week on the beautiful Canary Island of Fuerteventura with her family where they celebrated her twins’ 21st birthdays. It’s fair to say that many local delicacies were sampled!

As always, we thank all our PPG leads and members for all their support. Don’t forget, we’re still looking for case studies for our new PPG support pages so please do get in touch if you’d like your PPG to be featured!