What local people have told us

Your voice matters to us and we have been listening to what you have been saying!

We have looked at what local people have said to us across twenty surveys and reports over the last four years – by the NHS, local councils, voluntary and community sector, and Healthwatch Dorset. And we have recently held dozens of meetings and conversations during 2022 to help us to understand what local people would like. Thank you to everyone who has allowed us to listen to you.

You have made it clear that you would like us to:

  • Listen more

  • Work more with local people to improve health and care services

  • Work closer together

How you can get involved and share your voice

We want to make it easy for you to get involved and give us your views. There are many opportunities to have your say and influence local healthcare decisions and make sure you don’t miss out on future opportunities as well!

Join our email community

Stay-up to date with the latest opportunities to get involved and share your voice by subscribing to our NHS Dorset e-newsletter.

Subscription to our newsletter is easy, we ask you to complete a short form and you can withdraw your consent at any point.

Sign up to our e-newsletter

Patient Participation Groups

Patient Participation Groups (PPGs) provide an opportunity for local people to get involved with their practice and influence the provision of local health services. Members contribute their views, make suggestions and provide feedback on services they may have used. Groups can also get involved with supporting local health initiatives.

Find out more about PPGs

Maternity Voices

Maternity Voices is an initiative that aims to involve women and their families in the development of local maternity services. We want Dorset’s maternity service to be the best it can be, which means that it must meet the needs of those using the service. Women and their partners must be shown that their voices and experiences matter.

Maternity Voices on Maternity Matters Dorset website

Dorset Maternity Voices page on Facebook

Dorset Maternity Voices Community Group on Facebook

Social media

Stay connected with us on social! 

Keep up-to-date with the latest news and opportunities to get involved by following us on social media!

Our groups

Over the years we have worked with local partners to create some stakeholder groups involving local people to help inform projects, plans and proposals.

The PEG is made up of 25 local people who have a wealth of lived experience across Dorset’s geography, demography, and diversity.

The key role of the PEG is to provide advice, guidance and challenge on public engagement that is being planned across the system, to ensure that Dorset informs and involves local people when developing and delivering future health and care services in an appropriate and proportionate way.

Find out more. 

The NHS in Dorset has been developing new digital applications to support our services in many different ways and we believe it is vital that patients, carers and the wider public have the opportunity to provide their views and feedback on what we are planning now, and how these online services will be provided in future.

For this reason, a Digital Public Engagement Group was formed in 2021 with a diverse membership of over 50 people. Members meet bi-monthly to provide advice, guidance and challenge to inform public engagement across Dorset for Digital Health Technology to help ensure people can manage and monitor their condition to enable them to live well.

Our local groups we work with

As part of the new Our Dorset Integrated Care System, partners across health, local councils and the voluntary and community sector in Dorset are leading on developing a Joint Citizens Panel.

This panel will be a voluntary, representative body through which residents and communities can give their views on the services we all provide. Members will be invited to take part in a range of activities – usually surveys, but also focus groups, workshops and committees to discuss issues in more detail. Through the panel we can consistently listen to the feedback and experiences of residents and communities to identify and understand their priorities and to act on the insights gained to develop services. We also want to provide the opportunity for more community-led conversations to explore needs and priorities and to work together towards solutions.

The Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector plays a crucial role in improving in supporting and improving good quality health and care to the people of Dorset. That’s why Dorset’s NHS and councils are putting an agreement in place to involve the VCSE sector in the decision-making and planning of health and care services.

Dorset VCSA PowerPoint

Find out more: Dorset VCS Assembly – Our Dorset

The Dorset Youth Representative Group was set up by NHS Dorset’s public engagement team in November 2020 as a way to network and link up with people who work with children and young people across the county. The aim of the group is to keep people up to date with children and young people’s services and opportunities for involvement and ultimately keep young people’s voices at the heart of decision making.

The group meets every two months and has over 50 members from across the system (including Dorset Youth Association, Chatterboxes, Parent Carer groups, BCP and Dorset Council, Dorset Police and many more). These people all work with young people and act as a representative/conduit.

What our partners say

The development of NHS Dorset is a great opportunity for statutory and voluntary organisations to come together as equal partners and as part of the wider integrated care system, to put an end to the inflexibility that has created the existing inequalities for many of Dorset residents. The Dorset integrated care system will enable residents to be at the centre of all decision-making processes to reduce the health inequalities, to avoid duplication and to pool resources more effectively. These are exciting times that we all need to embrace to create a positive change for all and for the future.
Nathalie Sherring, Chief Executive, Dorset Race Equality Council

We believe that people and communities have a wealth of experience and expertise to contribute to the development and ongoing sustainability of a truly place-based and integrated care system for Dorset. By putting people and communities at the heart of system thinking, transformation and integration, we can move away from “them and us” culture to work collaboratively “all of us” as citizens of Dorset. Genuine integration and coproduction across Statutory, Voluntary and Community organisations and local communities will ensure that people and their voices are heard and integrated within all decisions that affect them and their lives.

Becky Aldridge, Chief Executive, Dorset Mental Health Forum

NHS Dorset, working together locally, offers us a huge opportunity to develop great partnerships and teamwork between support providers of all kinds in a whole range of different places. Creating better connections and integration with the huge contribution of the voluntary and community sector will support smarter working between all partners. Better integration will facilitate even more practical, grass-roots support that will improve the quality of life, health, and care of all Dorset’s residents.

Jon Sloper, Chief Executive, #HelpAndKindness

Healthwatch Dorset works hard to provide up-to date information and gather local people’s views on health and social care services. Our small staff team and amazing volunteers are passionate about giving people the opportunity to share their experiences of using health and social care services across Dorset and making sure that this valuable feedback reaches the powers that be and leads to positive change.

We work closely with NHS commissioners and providers, local councils, care providers and the voluntary sector, sharing people’s concerns and queries to help improve local services. The feedback we gathered last year; engagement with children and young people; our community outreach work with people experiencing homelessness and our latest reports on people’s access to dentistry and experience of using A&E services are helping the NHS and councils make service improvements.

We are really pleased to be working with NHS Dorset to develop a strategic approach to working with people and communities that puts local people’s views and experiences at the heart of decision-making.

Viv Aird, Chair, Healthwatch Dorset Steering Group

The role of parish and town councils as a source of key information for residents on a broad range of topics has moved into a more dynamic space following the Covid-19 pandemic. Community based social media fed by local councils, will play an increasingly important role.

Neil Wedge, Chief Executive, Dorset Association of Parish Town Councils

I believe there is a sea change in the relationship between the voluntary and statutory sectors. There is mutual respect, determination and a shared vision to provide a health service that strives to meet the needs of everyone in Dorset.

Nick Rowe, Project Manager, Dorset Community Mental Health Alliance

We need to listen, to learn by trying to understand other’s lived experiences, and we need to codesign the services that people and communities in Dorset need going forward. We need to work with others to help people not just live long, healthy lives, but long lives that add quality and that’s about personal happiness.

Patricia Miller OBE, Chief Executive, NHS Dorset
If not now when? We’re at a critical point in time – we all need to continue to pull together and work as equal partners with our communities … as everyone deserves to live well.
Karen Loftus, Chief Executive, Community Action Network

Understanding what really matters to people, and genuinely listening and responding to that, is at the heart of high-quality care, and improving people’s health and wellbeing.

Sam Crowe, Director, Public Health

The voluntary sector must mobilise its amazing potential so we can find solutions to the huge challenges faced by the National Health Service, embrace the opportunities the new Integrated Care System offers and help the of people Dorset live happier and healthier lives.

Linda O'Sullivan, Chief Executive, Dorset Mind

We must listen to people at the earliest stage of service design, development, and evaluation. Only through this approach can you truly understand what matters to people.

Ian Gall, Chair, Our Dorset Public Engagement Group

To build a truly collaborative approach with NHS Dorset and all the partners is so important and vital to make a difference to people’s lives, working together makes what we do so much sense, means we are stronger and better.

Alex Picot, Chief Executive, Dorset Community Action

The voluntary and community Sector holds a privileged position of supporting health and wellbeing at a local level.  By developing unified partnerships with NHS Dorset, we build stronger connections to individual voices and what communities want and need to thrive.

Caroline Moylan, Director of Homelessness, Bournemouth Churches House Association