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Dorset STP

 Julie Connolly 9 Nov 2017 South West

The Dorset STP is one of the front runners in the region because it had already begun a comprehensive clinical services review and an acute vanguard. 


The STP has adopted the work strategy started under the clinical service review (CSR) which has had a relatively positive approach to partnership working, with staff groups, the public and STP-wide providers. This transparency has made the move towards transition less challenging for everyone.

I, along with two employer members of Dorset STP and Dorset UNISON health officer Mike Cracknell, attended the NHS Employers national social partnership forum (SPF) in October to present on Dorset STP’s partnership working as an example of better practice. However, we are aware that meetings continue to take place that staff groups aren’t party to and we continue to challenge this to promote openness.

So what’s actually happening in the STP?

NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group published its final recommendations for the clinical services review (CSR) which were accepted by the CCG’s governing body. Poole Hospital will become the major planned care hospital and the Royal Bournemouth Hospital becomes the major emergency hospital for East Dorset.  

Acting Senior Officer Steve Pulsford and I attended the last Dorset Workforce Action Board meeting which has reduced in size to expedite decision making. There was a summary of the service review and current financial status; they are being given money for the service review implementation.

We are struggling to field RCN representatives to attend all the clinical working groups as they have substantial clinical commitments and some work part time. We currently have no answer for this problem and are looking at different models to support facilities time for some experienced trade union representatives to engage with members Dorset-wide across organisational boundaries. The representatives need to be experienced to be able to take on the roles.

At a meeting I’ve attended recently there were grave concerns expressed by employers about growing the workforce. For the first time Bournemouth University went to the clearing process to fill nurse degree places and some remain unfilled. Due to the majority of nursing associate training posts likely to be filled by current HCAs and Bournemouth University not expected to start the programme until 2019, there is a real and tangible challenge to the implementation of the workforce strategy. The STP believes providers are not asking for enough nursing associates and directors of nursing are saying this is because there needs to be enough staff to mentor and supervise these and other learners in clinical environments. New models of working are likely to remain on the agenda and are something we want to keep a close eye on as the STP moves forward.


Julie Connolly

Julie Connolly

Acting Operational Manager

Julie is Acting Operational Manager of the RCN South West region and substantive Senior RCN Officer for Dorset.