Public Health Dorset

Public Health Dorset aims to improve and protect the health and wellbeing of the population across Dorset with an emphasis on reducing health inequalities.

Councils have a legal requirement to fulfil this duty, and Public Health Dorset delivers this as a shared service across both Dorset Council and BCP Council. Our focus is to have an impact at a whole population rather than individual level. We commission and provide public health services funded from the public health grant received by local authorities, including Drug and Alcohol treatment services, LiveWell Dorset, Health Checks and initiatives to prevent suicide and increase awareness of steps people can take for better mental health.

We work with partners to influence the development and delivery of wider prevention work and play a key role in the new Integrated Care System, supporting the development of a new strategy, NHS health inequalities programme, and deliver an effective Joint Strategic Needs Assessment.

How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?

Public Health Dorset are central to the leadership of the development and implementation of Dorset’s (multiagency) Suicide Prevention Strategy and action plan. It leads on the use of data to understand need and interpreting the evidence base to inform prioritisation and where to target suicide prevention programmes and interventions. It also currently leads the coordination of suicide prevention training.

What are your current priorities?

We are currently undertaking a needs assessment to understand local priorities more fully. We will be reviewing and refreshing the local action plan in line with this new insight and the new published national strategy in early 2024,which will clarify and update our priority areas for action.

What challenges are you currently facing?

The lack of funding to accompany the newly published national strategy alongside stretched capacity within the local system is our biggest challenge. This is particularly impacting on the development and implementation of a real time surveillance system systematically across Dorset.