The Cranborne Practice in Wimborne has created a new online signposting tool called Community SWITCH that provides new opportunities for patients across the area to manage their health and well-being.

Guided by feedback from patients and practice staff, The Cranborne Practice has designed an accessible way for people to search for local services. People can look for support based on how they are feeling at that time, such as lonely, stressed or anxious, rather than looking for services based on their specific health conditions.

When *Christine, a patient at Barcellos Family Practice, began to suffer from memory loss and anxiety, the practice was able to inform her about Community SWITCH.

“I was anxious about my memory loss and I felt depressed so I decided to speak to a doctor.“After tests and brain scans, I was diagnosed with cognitive impairment. I wanted to learn as much about it as possible. I started delving into SWITCH which is a system on my general practice website, and it answered questions on subjects I was concerned about.”

All information on Community SWITCH is peer-reviewed by patients from the PPG to ensure it is relevant and optimised for patient uptake. Members of the PPG are also an integral part of the Community SWITCH development team, assisting with identifying support groups and community messaging.

People can access Community SWITCH from home or with the support of the team of social prescribers at the four GP practices within the Crane Valley Primary Care Network: Barcellos Family Practice, The Cranborne Practice, Verwood Surgery and West Moors Village Surgery. One of the main features of the programme is that following a meeting with the social prescriber, a patient can access follow-up support information from their home, and at a time, when they are ready.

Jo Morris, Managing Partner at The Cranborne Practice said,

“We developed the Community SWITCH Programme because we are committed to continuously improving the service we provide to our patients and enhancing the work of our social prescribers. We wanted to offer this across the other practices in the primary care network.“We know the devastating impact that becoming unwell can have on people. We hope that SWITCH will help people access activities that they enjoy and help people suffering from isolation and loneliness.”

Social prescribers are now using Community SWITCH for patient support. Each area on Community SWITCH sets out the service available, what to expect, how it will help, and how to access it. In addition, each area has a video that a patient can watch to learn more about the help available. There is also information on support for carers.

For patient Christine, one benefit was how accessible the information is,

“There’s endless information out there, I wish I’d found SWITCH sooner. I now feel I have a grip on my life and its more in my control.“I’ve found out much more about lots of subjects since researching my impairment and I am less stressed or anxious now. And I’ve met more people.”

For more information, please visit or speak to the practice teams.

You can download a copy of the Community SWITCH Patient leaflet by visiting

*Name changed to protect patient confidentiality

Useful links

Home – SWITCH (

Community SWITCH – Crane Valley PCN