2020 has been the most challenging year in the history of the NHS and we would like to thank you for your continued support of our hard-working staff. We’d also like to thank all health and social care staff, and all key workers for everything that they continue to do in serving our community.

Some services look very different, and will continue to do so.

In the coming weeks, people who need planned treatments are urged to take up their re-scheduled appointments in Dorset’s hospitals.

Our hard-working staff are working their way through the backlog of patients who had their elective treatments postponed at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have rigorous safety measures in place to protect both our staff and patients. Some planned treatments are taking longer to perform than they did before and we thank you for your patience.

If you need urgent help or advice for a problem which is not life-threatening, visit www.111.nhs.uk or call 111 in the first instance – please don’t just turn up at a minor injuries unit or GP surgery.

You can get in touch with your GP via telephone or e-consult, practice staff will advise you on what to do or make a face-to-face appointment.

It’s really important that parents make sure their children still get their vaccinations and for women to take up their cervical screening invitations to help spot any pre-cancerous changes. If you are invited for an appointment please make sure you attend.

Almost all services have been developing in the way people access their support, while some new services have been created.

Many people have had GP and out-patient appointments by video-call or are being supported by new forms of care in mental health. The NHS doesn’t want to lose these advances. So not only are we restoring services, but we’re also aiming to make them better than before.

Thank you for your continued support in staying alert. The risk from COVID-19 is still here so it’s important we all continue to follow social distancing guidelines and stay 2m away from people where we can, wear face coverings where necessary and regularly wash our hands.

Through the Dorset COVID-19 Health Protection Board we are monitoring data, like numbers of cases, so we can take quick action to tackle and contain any outbreaks. People in Dorset have done a great job so far, and we’d urge everyone to keep doing their bit to help keep their family, friends and local communities safe; and protect the NHS.

Thank you.

Patricia Miller, Chief Executive, Dorset County Hospital

Professor Alastair Hutchison, Medical Director, Dorset County Hospital

Nicky Lucey, Director of Nursing & Quality Director of Infection Prevention & Control, Dorset County Hospital

Dr Forbes Watson, Chair, NHS Dorset CCG

Dr Karen Kirkham, Assistant Clinical Chair, NHS Dorset CCG

Vanessa Reed, Director of Nursing and Quality, NHS Dorset CCG

Tim Goodson, Chief Officer, NHS Dorset CCG

Eugine Yafele, Chief Executive, Dorset HealthCare

Dr Sudipto Das, Interim Medical Director, Dorset HealthCare

Dawn Dawson, Director of Nursing, Therapies and Quality, Dorset HealthCare

Dr Matt Thomas, Consultant Physician, Acting Medical Director, Poole Hospital

Patricia Reid, Director of Nursing, Poole Hospital

Dr Alyson O’Donnell, Medical Director, The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals

Paula Shobbrook, Director of Nursing and Midwifery, The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals

Debbie Fleming, Joint Chief Executive, Poole Hospital and The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals