A lot of the time when we hear the word ‘health’ we actually think about illness. This section of the website really is about health; how we can improve it and how we can protect it. There is information about what we ourselves can do to stay healthy as well as links to local public health services and support.


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Where to access local services

To find a GP practice or pharmacy in your local area providing services including NHS health checks, smoking cessation and contraception click here for more information.

Alcohol and other drugs

If you drink alcohol, drinking less will reduce the risk of harming your health. It is recommended that no-one should drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week, spreading these over 3 or more days. For the latest guidance from the Department of Health (August 2017) visit Alcohol: applying All Our Health.

Drugs can alter your mood, character, emotions, perceptions and consciousness. Drug misuse can cause significant damage to your health and increase your risks of infection and contracting blood borne viruses.

If you are pregnant or think you may become pregnant the safest approach is not to use drugs (except those discussed and prescribed to you by your doctor) or drink alcohol at all to minimise the risks to your baby.

Drug treatment services offer support to people misusing drugs including performance enhancing drugs, new psychoactive substances, over the counter and prescription medicines. If you are concerned about your own or someone else’s drinking or drug misuse, support is available for all ages by contacting:

Alcohol and Drugs
Local National
BEAT (Bournemouth) NHS Choices
SMART (Poole) Alcoholics Anonymous
REACH (Dorset County) Cocaine Anonymous 
Dorset Service User Forum (email only) Narcotics Anonymous
LiveWell Dorset


The fourth edition of the directory of services and support for people with dementia and memory loss, their carers and families is now available here. The booklet was compiled by the NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group in partnership with Dorset HealthCare NHS Foundation Trust, Bournemouth Borough Council, the Borough of Poole, Dorset County Council (Learning and Development), Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society (Dorset) and local community groups.

Healthy Weight

Maintaing a healthy body weight is important to your overall health and wellbeing. You can check whether you or your family members are a healthy weight by using the NHS BMI calculator.

Eating well is essential to maintaining your health and that of your family.

For information and support with managing weight contact LiveWell Dorset on 0800 8401628 or visit LiveWell Dorset.

Tick bite risks and prevention of Lyme disease: resources

Toolkit and resources for local authorities and other stakeholders to raise awareness of the potential risks created by ticks and tick-borne disease in England.


Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be very unpleasant and sometimes lead to serious complications.

Anyone can get measles if they haven’t been vaccinated or they haven’t had it before, although it’s most common in young children.

The initial symptoms of measles develop around 10 days after you’re infected.

These can include:

  • cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, sneezing, and a cough
  • sore, red eyes that may be sensitive to light
  • a high temperature (fever), which may reach around 40C (104F)
  • small greyish-white spots on the inside of the cheeks

A few days later, a red-brown blotchy rash will appear. This usually starts on the head or upper neck, before spreading outwards to the rest of the body.

Protect yourself, protect others

This leaflet gives information about measles, and the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.

Vaccine in pregnancy: advice for pregnant women

Guidance for health professionals to share with pregnant women immunised with MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), chickenpox or shingles vaccines.

Public Health England: music festivals ‘are measles hotspots’

Music festivals including Glastonbury have become a hotbed of measles this summer, Public Health England has warned,” BBC News reports. The public health body have called on young people to check their vaccination status before attending an event. Public Health England (PHE) say there have been 38 suspected measles cases reported in people who attended events in June and July. As there are a number of big musical festivals coming up, such as the Reading Festival, there are concerns that there could be further outbreaks.

Mental health and 5 Ways to Wellbeing

Feeling good is not just about feeling happy, it also means being curious, engaged, interested and content with your life. Functioning well is about having positive relationships, being in control of your life, and having a sense of purpose.

Five Ways to Wellbeing is a set of simple steps that anyone can take to improve their wellbeing. Doing more of these simple things helps us to build resilience, cope better with stress and recover from setbacks in life:

connect keep learning be active take notice give to others
1) Connect 2) Keep learning 3) Be active 4) Take notice 5) Give to others

To learn more about the Five Ways to Wellbeing, visit Mental Wellbeing NHS Choices or Mind UK.

For further help and support visit:

For a list of local services visit:

NHS Health Check

18,000 people across Dorset benefited from a free NHS Health Check in 2016. If you are in the 40-74 age group, at some point you can expect to receive an invitation for a health check in the post. Everyone who is eligible will receive an invitation every five years, so when yours arrives make sure you don’t miss the opportunity.

For more information about NHS Health Checks visit NHS choices.

If you have recently had your Health Check, further advice and support is available through LiveWell Dorset.

Physical activity

To stay healthy, people aged 19-64 should try to be active daily, doing at least 2 and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. This could include, cycling or brisk walking. Muscle-strengthening activities are also recommended on two or more days a week; these should work all the major muscle groups: legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms. The most important thing is to have fun, do the things you enjoy and keep on doing them.

Wanting to get more active? Chat to an advisor at LiveWell Dorset by calling 0800 8401628 or visiting LiveWell Dorset to find out about local opportunities which meet your needs.

To see whether you and your family are meeting the recommended levels, try taking the fitness self-assessment.

For guidance on physical activity for all ages visit NHS Choices and the latest guidance (August 2017) from the Department of Health: Physical activity – applying All Our Health.


Screening identifies whether people have an increased risk of a particular condition, even though they may seem to be healthy. The NHS offers a range of screening tests for different sections of the population.

Further information on all screening programmes can be found on NHS Choices.

Sexual health

It is important to make the right choices about your sexual health and contraception to prevent a sexually transmitted infection (“STI”) or unwanted pregnancy. Not all sexually transmitted infections have symptoms, so practice safer sex and if you change your partner, it is a good idea to have an STI test.

For local online sexual health and contraception advice, or for information of where to go to access Emergency Hormonal Contraception, see the Sexual Health Dorset website.

Other helpful information can be accessed through:


Across many communities smoking is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Thousands of people have successfully given up smoking, and moved on to a healthier future. The younger you quit, the greater the benefit, but stopping smoking is beneficial at any age.

To get free help to quit smoking, contact LiveWell Dorset on 0800 8401628 or visit LiveWell Dorset.

Or, for more information on smoking and quitting, visit NHS Choices and NHS Smoke Free.  For the latest guidance from the Department of Health (August 2017) visit Smoking and tobacco: applying All Our Health.

If you are pregnant, speak to your midwife about wanting to quit, as they will be able to give you immediate support. Quitting smoking is the most important thing you can do to improve your baby’s health, growth and development.

Illegal Tobacco

We have ongoing concerns about the sale of unregulated, illegal and, sometimes, counterfeit tobacco in Dorset. There are a number of ways that illegal tobacco can seriously harm your health as well as that of other people.

We know that illegal tobacco is sold on social media, at retail premises, in pubs and from houses, but we need more information. Please report it by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506, or you can send vital information to local trading standards teams using this form. You don’t need to leave your details and all submissions will be treated as confidential.

Vaccinations for Flu

Having a flu vaccination each year is the best way of protecting yourself against flu. It also prevents flu from spreading within your family and in the wider community. Millions of people who are at highest risk are eligible for free vaccines. These include:

  • Adults over 65
  • Pregnant women
  • Children aged 2 and 3 as well as pupils in reception class and school years 1 to 4
  • People with long-term health conditions (including asthma, COPD and cardiovascular issues)
  • Many front-line health and social care staff

Protect yourself and prevent flu spreading. To get your vaccine or find out if you are eligible for a free vaccination, contact your GP, pharmacist, midwife or employer.

Visit the national NHS Stay Well page and local Stay Well in Dorset website for more details on how to help you and your family to stay well this winter.