Our Projects

Our priorities for April 2020 – March 2021

Healthwatch Dorset’s priorities for this year have been identified and agreed as part of the annual work plan process.  These projects are:


Accessing local health and care services during the coronavirus pandemic

In April, Healthwatch Dorset launched a new public feedback project to find out how coronavirus is affecting people’s experience of local health and care services.  People are sharing their stories about how services are adapting, to highlight what is working well and where things need to be improved.  This information will be shared with those providing services in Dorset to help them understand how to adapt and deliver effective care during such challenging times.  More information: smartsurvey.co.uk/s/CoronavirusHWD/.


Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)

This project will build on Healthwatch Dorset’s existing engagement work with seldom heard and marginalised young people.  For example, developing relationships and gathering feedback from children and young people excluded from school, young asylum seekers, young people who are settled travellers or homeless, and young offenders.  This project will feed into the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group’s review of CAMHS and it will be used to establish a new Healthwatch Dorset ‘Young Listeners’ project later in the year.

Primay Care

Access to Primary Care

Access to primary care is one of the most common areas of public feedback received by Healthwatch Dorset.  Primary care refers to the first place people go to when they need health advice or treatment for symptoms that are new or for concerns about physical or mental health.  This includes, for example, GP surgeries, pharmacies, opticians, and community care services such as musculoskeletal clinics.  People using primary care can have a broad and varied range of access and care needs, for example, disabled access, support for carers, and access for older people or homeless people.  This project is also an opportunity to develop stronger working relationships with Patient Participation Groups and Primary Care Networks in Dorset.  The nature and timing of this project will be reviewed to ensure it reflects the impact of coronavirus on how primary care is delivered.


Accessing transport to health and social care services

This is a key theme raised with Healthwatch Dorset by local people, and it covers a wide range of social, economic and geographic issues and needs.  For example, disabled access, access for older people and socially isolated individuals, access for rural communities and those with low incomes.

This is a year-long research and engagement project.  Healthwatch Dorset aims to work with Public Health, local NHS, local councils, the voluntary sector and Healthwatch England to develop and deliver this project.  Research is underway to develop an interactive map of community transport schemes across Dorset.  This will highlight what schemes are available, who they serve, the geographic areas they cover, and where there are gaps in provision.  Healthwatch Dorset will use the map to target areas and communities for future engagement work around this theme.


Accident and Emergency Care (A&E)

Healthwatch Dorset plans to work with Dorset County Hospital in early 2021 to improve patient experience in A&E and to inform planned changes to local services in Dorset following the Clinical Services Review.

The project will build on work carried out last year to investigate people’s experiences of using Poole Hospital A&E.  This was part of a national project to inform the NHS review of A&E performance measures.  Healthwatch Dorset published its findings in February 2020, including recommendations for how Poole Hospital A&E could improve patient experience.  More information: What matters to people using Poole Hospital Accident & Emergency?

Area under development

Other projects

NHS Long Term Plan

The NHS has produced a Long Term Plan, setting out all the things it wants health services to do better for people across the country.  Your local NHS needed to hear from you about what those changes should look like in your community.  Our report has now been published that details the engagement work carried out by Healthwatch Dorset around the NHS Long Term Plan.

Read the final report, July 2019.