Well! If we thought the first half of the year was busy, July continued in an even busier vein, with lots of practices and PPGs holding meetings or getting in touch with us for advice or support – just how we like it! It’s always so great to meet with our PPGs, it’s a part of our roles we really enjoy as it’s by far the best form of patient engagement.

Gill’s month started with a trip to Sherborne for the dementia roadshow, a very good event which is to be repeated in other areas of the county.

The same day she went to Corfe Castle where the PPG received a very useful and informative update on developments at University Hospitals Dorset (UHD).

Jim, Gill and other members of the team visited Portland where they met with many residents as part of the Community Conversations Project. It was so interesting to hear from local people about what matters to them and what is needed in their area.

Jim was really pleased to have been invited by Dorset Council to speak with them at the Local Government Association National Conference, which was held in Bournemouth this year. He spoke about the importance of patients being able to manage their health digitally and how the Council and PPGs in Weymouth & Portland have worked together to achieve this.

The management team at Shore Medical in Poole met with Gill to discuss plans for a Primary Care Network (PCN) wide PPG – this was a really exciting development as a representative from each practice in that PCN will be able to meet and share knowledge, information and feedback.

Jim attended several PPG meetings this month and was really impressed with the activities groups have been planning. Cross Road PPG have been busy collecting books for children and adults and creating handy carry bags for people to take them home. At Shelley Manor and Holdenhurst practice the group are planning to restart art classes, which were really popular before the covid lockdown.

Swanage PPG invited Gill to attend their PPG meeting where the PPG discussed plans for a “health hub” in the surgery waiting room. The PPG Chair and Gill also provided an update on the health awareness event which had been held in the town’s Mowlem Theatre at the end of the previous month.

The Barcellos Practice in Ferndown held their PPG meeting which Gill went along to. The group discussed ways of promoting the use of the NHS app to patients and also discussed the use of social media to raise awareness of the PPG. Gill also enjoyed the health talk hosted by the Corfe Castle PPG, this time on bowel cancer and gastroenterology.

Wyke PPG invited MP Richard Drax to visit the practice where he met with staff and PPG members and heard about the challenges GP practices face in recruiting clinical staff and the pressure surgeries face with a growing demand on their services.

The first meeting of the Canford Heath Group Practice PPG went really well with the practice management team providing an excellent update. Gill was so pleased to meet the new PPG members and hear their innovative ideas to take the group forward. Gill also joined the online meeting of the Cranborne Practice PPG where we learned about the PPG’s initiative “SWITCH – taking community health support forward”. A good news case study is to follow, but in the meantime find out more.

Following Jim’s meeting with Nola from Weymouth College’s student health and wellbeing team, Jim and Gill had a great meeting with Lilly from Dorset Youth, exploring ideas on how to get important feedback from youth groups to GP practices.

Gill finished her month of July by attending the Gillingham PPG where the group discussed its involvement with the men’s health event in September and the upcoming Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show. And last but very much not least, Gill went to the July session of Socially Connecting Shaftesbury.

It’s been a bumper month for Dorset’s PPGs, what a great bunch you are! Thank you all so much for all your support as always.