Hi, I am Richard Selby, the author of the Healthwatch Dorset blog and a volunteer member of our organisations Steering Group. I have an interesting and varied ‘day job’ where I provide maritime aviation fire & rescue, medical first aid and mental health & wellbeing training on superyachts and cruise ships. I supplement this as a volunteer Community First Responder and Emergency Response Assistant for South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust responding to 999 calls from work and home.


Since the first COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in March I volunteered to crew front line emergency ambulances around the county which provided me and my trust colleagues with new challenges of attending patients wearing various levels of personal protective clothing (PPE) to protect them and us which continues to this day.

The nine volunteer members of the Healthwatch Dorset Steering Group have faced similar challenges in that our bi-monthly meetings are now held digitally to comply with social distancing requirements but that has not diluted the depth of our discussions and objectives.

Our steering group members regularly attend meetings, such as the Health and Wellbeing Boards, to make sure that local people are represented. However, some of our work plan projects have had to change over the last few months and so we produced an online survey to gather feedback about health and care services during COVID -19. We received 179 responses and would like to thank everyone who took part, you can read the report here: Healthwatch Dorset Covid Report

Earlier in the year, we were planning face to face engagement with local people in hospital accident & emergency departments, but because of COVID-19 we are now training our volunteers to carry out phone interviews instead.

Healthwatch Dorset staff have been busy answering enquiries, supporting our volunteers, working on projects with people who are homeless and also with people who’ve left hospital and gone into care recently, and helping the local NHS and local authority councils to use people’s feedback to learn and adapt their services.

A reminder that Healthwatch Dorset exists for you, and If there’s anything you would like to share with us please email ‘enquiries@healthwatchdorset.co.uk’ or call 0300 111 0102. More information can also be found on our news page:  https://healthwatchdorset.co.uk/news/