At the end of April Healthwatch Dorset announced a new public engagement programme to drive improvements in local health and social care. A summary is below but please go to their website for the full text.

1. Accident and Emergency Care (A&E)
Covid-19 has changed the way A&E services are provided and the NHS now wants people to contact NHS 111 before visiting A&E.  Healthwatch Dorset will investigate how new ways of working have affected people. 

2. Children and young people’s health and social care services
Healthwatch Dorset will be asking local young people about their experiences of health and social care services and gathering their ideas on how services could work better for them.  The project is being designed and delivered by a group of volunteer ‘Young Listeners’ aged 16-25, with support and training from Healthwatch Dorset. 

3. Access to Primary Care
Many people with serious health conditions are not getting the care they need when they need it, and this can lead to significantly poorer health outcomes, a situation made worse by Covid-19.  Healthwatch Dorset wants to raise public awareness about when and how to access healthcare, and they want to investigate how difficulties accessing primary care, like GPs, impact on health inequalities.  They also want to find out more about the benefits and challenges to patients of using digital methods of communication and consultation, and of how the patient experience can be improved, for example by reducing barriers and waiting times for booking appointments.

4. Transport to health and social care services
Access to transport is a key theme that local people raise with Healthwatch Dorset.  This research and engagement project will explore a range of issues including disabled access, access for older people and rural communities, the need for clear and accessible information about transport, and transport support for the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

Vivienne Aird, Chair of the Healthwatch Dorset Steering Group explained how these projects will make a positive difference to health and social care in Dorset: “Health and social care providers can best improve services if they understand people’s experiences.  We are here to listen to local people, to gather and analyse their feedback and identify themes, and to report what is and isn’t working.  We share our findings and recommendations with those responsible for improving health and care in Dorset, to support and drive positive change.  We want to hear from as many people as possible about their experiences, when these projects are launched throughout the year, or at any time and about any health and care service.  Your feedback really will help to make care better for local people.”

You can share your health and care experience and feedback with Healthwatch Dorset:
• Online:
• By phone: 0300 111 0102
• By email:

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