September started off in fine form with lots of PPG meetings and events booked in, as well as meetings with practices looking to relaunch or reinvigorate their groups – exciting times!

Gill was invited along to the Weymouth Research Hub event, where she heard all about the brilliant work the team are involved in as well as how to sign up if you want to be a research volunteer! Gill also had a great meeting with the new social prescribing lead for the Blackmore Vale PCN, it was really good to meet up and hear about the social prescribing plans within the PCN!

Jim attended a health literacy event in Poole at the start of the month, where people involved in health across Dorset came together with the aim to improve the way health is communicated to people in the county. It was a really informative event, further sessions are being planned for the future, so watch this space!

Gill hosted the quarterly meeting of the Purbeck Primary Care Network PPG Leads, where the group was pleased to meet the new PCN Clinical Director.

The PCN’s Business and Operations Manager was also at the meeting and provided an excellent and very useful update on what is happening across the whole PCN. The group also heard about the great work being done by the Purbeck Youth PPG.

The national blood pressure awareness campaign called ‘know your numbers’ happens every September and Jim was really pleased to attend PPGs helping to promote this. Members of Central Bournemouth PPG and Bridges PPG had their blood pressures recorded at the meetings and there were some great discussions held on the subject.

The Quarter Jack Surgery in Wimborne held a PPG engagement event and invited Gill along to talk about PPGs in action. It was a great event attended by over 30 patients who received an excellent update from one of the GP partners.

Jim and Gill have been working with colleagues on a project in Portland to look at the health and care services provided on the island. They have both spoken to many people on the island to better understand what it’s like to live and access services there.

Results from these conversations will help organisations commissioning health and social care to help plan future services there. We’ll keep you up-to-date on the progress.

The Cross-PCN PPG Representatives met again, hosted by Gill, where the group heard from Cranborne PPG about the Community SWITCH programme. The meeting had an update on the merger of The Adam Practice and Lifeboat Quay Medical Centre in Poole, and Paula Bennetts, Operations Manager for Dorset Community Action, told the group about projects her organisation is working on.

Jim met Hannah Webb, the new Digital Care Coordinator covering the Weymouth and Portland Primary Care Network (PCN). This is Hannah’s first role in the NHS and has lots of ideas to develop the role, including working with PPGs. Many PCNs now have digital care coordinators, and their roles can be vital to help people understand and access digital health services. If your PPG wants to find out if there’s a digital care coordinator in your area and would like to involve them in your group, please get in touch with Jim or Gill.

Puddletown PPG are looking for a new chair to help lead the group and work on new exciting initiatives with the practice. Jim has been helping the group with this process. If any groups are need help to elect a new chair please get in touch with Gill or Jim!

Although Gill’s car trouble stopped her from attending a few meetings, she did manage to end the month on a high by going along to the recently-formed Canford Heath Surgery PPG meeting – the group is going from strength to strength and Gill was really pleased to see how well the practice’s hard work in engaging with its patients is paying off! Gill also attended the Lifeboat Quay PPG meeting where the group received a fantastic update on the new Klinik online consultation platform and the practice put together an excellent question and answer leaflet.

Jim celebrated his nearly 50th birthday this month and the team met up to help him celebrate with presents, cake and lots of laughter!

Outside of work Jim had a week off to celebrate his birthday, he had great times on the Isle of Wight, Dorset and Devon! Gill went to stay for a couple of days with her daughter and grandson who is nearly two years old and growing up fast!

Looking at our October diaries, it’s so good to see so many PPG and practice planning meetings in there – it’s clear to see that Dorset takes patient engagement really seriously. As always, if your practice or PPG would like to schedule a chat with us please do get in touch and we’ll be happy to oblige where we can!