Over the last year (April 2020-March 2021), during the pandemic, 3,128 Dorset residents shared feedback on the county’s health and social care services with Healthwatch Dorset or sought information and advice on how to access the care and support they needed.

In its latest Annual Report, Healthwatch Dorset explains how it worked throughout the year to understand people’s health and care needs, and how it used public feedback to help services respond and improve care for local people.  The report also identifies the most common issues people raised, and outlines work planned for 2021-22.

The year in numbers

  • In total, 3,128 people shared feedback or sought information about health and care services.
  • 1,826 people shared their views and experiences of local health and social care.
  • 1,302 people sought information, advice, and support on how to get the care they need.
  • Healthwatch Dorset published 6 reports and made 19 recommendations for improvement to health and social care providers.
  • The most common areas of comment and enquiry raised with Healthwatch Dorset last year were Covid-19 and vaccinations (64%), access to GP services (18%), dentistry (11%), and mental health services (7%).
  • 97 volunteers supported Healthwatch Dorset last year, giving up 132 days (1,261 hours) of their time to engage with patients and the public, and to assess services.

Healthwatch Dorset reports published during the year

Announcing the annual report, Viv Aird, Chair of the Healthwatch Dorset Steering Group, said:  “Healthwatch Dorset has achieved a great deal this year, despite the challenges of the pandemic.  We adapted our plans to support local people to get the information and care they needed, and to help our health and care services respond to the needs of local people.  We investigated people’s experiences of health and social care during COVID-19, including those experiencing homelessness and those living and working in care homes, and we gathered people’s views of Dorset’s COVID-19 vaccination programme.  We have also worked on some of the projects that we had anticipated prior to COVID-19, using patient and public feedback to guide improvements in the county’s mental health services, and recruiting and training volunteer Young Listeners to gather young people’s views to help shape local services.

“I would like to thank everyone who shared their views and experiences with us to help improve health care for local people.  I would also like to applaud the dedication of Dorset’s health and care staff who have worked tirelessly to care for the public during COVID-19.  We all need to continue working together as we move out of the pandemic, to ensure that the excellent work achieved this year, in tackling the virus and to provide quality care for local people, is enhanced by what patients and the public tell us they want and need.”

Healthwatch Dorset projects planned for 2021-22

Healthwatch Dorset will investigate people’s experiences of four priority areas of health and social care this year, with a focus on seldom heard communities and access to services as we move away from restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Accident and Emergency care (A&E)
  • Children and young people’ health and social care services
  • Access to primary care, in particular GPs and NHS dentists
  • Transport to health and care services.

Read the full Healthwatch Dorset Annual Report 2020-21 to find out more about their work during the past year, including findings and recommendations for changes to services.


Find out more about Healthwatch Dorset by signing up for regular news updates, or explore the website, where you can also share your views and experiences of Dorset’s health and care services.