We say this every month but we can’t believe where October’s gone! With that said, we’re really pleased that PPGs have been so active – here’s an overview of what we’ve been involved with this month.

We always enjoy attending events to promote PPGs, and the growing reputation of Dorset’s PPGs has meant other areas in the country are interested in hearing what you’re doing! At the start of October we were the guest speakers at the Suffolk & North Essex PPG training day. We joined the meeting virtually where Julie Saunders from Cranborne & Lake Road PPG and Maggie Hardy from Corfe Castle PPG shared examples of how groups can use the skills and knowledge from PPG members to benefit both the GP practice and fellow patients. Attendees were impressed with what they heard and we’ll be working with them in the future to share more great examples from Dorset’s PPGs.

Jim went to a health and wellbeing fair on Portland where he had the opportunity to talk to many organisations supporting people in the Weymouth and Portland area. The event was also really well supported by members of the public and he spoke to many people about PPGs and signed up new members to Portland’s group. He also attended a community conversations event in Christchurch where he heard how local organisations are working together to improve services in the area.

Gill hosted the bi-monthly meeting of the North Dorset PPG Leads network, attended by representatives from the three North Dorset Primary Care Networks (Shaftesbury, Sherborne, Gillingham, Stalbridge, Blandford, Sturminster Newton and Marnhull). It’s always a great meeting where the attendees share much local knowledge and information.

Jim went to the Queens Avenue PPG meeting in Dorchester where they welcomed new members, prepared to support the practice with flu-jabs and gave constructive feedback on the practice’s website. He joined the Preston Road virtual PPG meeting which included a presentation from Age UK about the services available locally. Jim also went to the Cross Road PPG meeting where he heard how they have received over £120 so far in donations from book donations, which funds women’s sanitary products and children’s toothpaste, available free for anyone who needs them.

Gill visited Orchid House Practice in Ferndown and heard about their recent PPG relaunch event. It was brilliant to hear the meeting was so well attended and Gill is very much looking forward to being at the next one!

Jim was pleased to be invited to Dorset Council’s Digital Champions’ 10th anniversary celebrations at Dorset County Museum. It was a really good opportunity to chat to some of the brilliant Digital Champions, he spoke to counterparts at the Council about ways Digital Champions could promote digital health services and how PPGs could support this.

Jim also met with NHS colleagues to discuss a digital project Weymouth & Portland PPGs have been supporting. They have been working to promote a blood pressure monitoring app locally, with the aim to identify people who have not been diagnosed with hypertension along with those who are known to have high blood pressure.

Gill went along to the October meeting of Penny’s Hill PPG in Ferndown – the group was relaunched nearly a year ago and is really going from strength to strength! This time the meeting discussed the practice’s new system for flu clinics, the GP survey results, and the community transport group, as well as a really useful and informative practice update.

We were invited by Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) to participate in a steering group meeting for a new project they’re developing called ‘Nature Buddies’. The aim is to encourage more people to get outside and enjoy the natural environment, and PPGs will have the opportunity to be involved with the project in the future. NHS Dorset is taking part in a pilot project to have Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) reviewed by the CQC, and as part of this Jim and Gill actively participated in a focus group on how the ICS engages with the public and its partners.

Outside of work Jim and his wife spent a rather wet and windy day in Salisbury, despite the weather they had a great time taking in the sights, they’d like to spend more time there when the weather improves.

Gill and her husband visited Poole with friends and had a lovely lunch on the quay. She and her husband also helped their grandson celebrate his second birthday

So that was October! Looking towards November’s diary we have more PPG meetings, our next PPG webinar, and the first of two health and wellbeing events. As always, thank you all so much for your help in making Dorset the best it can be for patient and public engagement!