5 August 2021

New, New, New – The pandemic has been horrible for so many reasons and like most of us I experienced personal and professional grief along the way. Back in the height of the pandemic I was working in adult social care for Dorset Council and spent much of my time released from my engagement day job to provide phone support to care homes at a time when they were hit hard by the virus. The efforts of so many people since that time to safeguard everyone’s health have been incredible and the efforts of volunteers in particular is something we can be very proud of.

As I write this blog I have been with Dorset CCG as Senior Public Engagement Coordinator since February and the country very much in recovery. I have a new job in a new organisation and public engagement is very much essential in helping Dorset CCG to support the Dorset population stay safe and well.

I have been very lucky to join a fantastically supportive team. I still feel new and have much to learn about the NHS and the integrated work, but the engagement team is well placed to help me do so. Our work plan touches on over 80 different projects and engagement related activities, so we certainly have a lot to keep us busy.

For all that was bad from the pandemic, a lot of positive relationships, partnerships and new ways of working have been built and grown. There is now a sense that we can achieve so much more by working together in partnership with so many positive examples when we needed them most.

One of my key responsibilities is to help harness the will to work together through a programme called Building Health Partnerships. Started in 2020, the programme builds relationships between the NHS, local government, citizens and voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations to facilitate joint action that improves health and care priorities.

With support from the team, I was tasked with organising a webinar for partners to come together to listen and share learning. The webinar had a fantastic response with over 80 people in attendance from a huge spread of different organisations and members of the public. Learning from partnership approaches to covid response and a community asset mapping project where shared. The second half of the webinar provided an important opportunity for everyone to contribute their thoughts to the opportunities and challenges to partnership working. Feedback has been very positive, and we are so pleased with the numbers of partners engaged that we have agreed to continue to provide this webinar on a regular bi-monthly basis. It is viewed as a great opportunity to communicate, share and learn and we look forward to new successful partnerships delivering positive health outcomes.

To find out more, or to get involved, please contact me:

Written by Chris Skinner

Senior Public Engagement Coordinator

NHS Dorset CCG