Changes to Public Health Dorset services during the coronavirus outbreak

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Public Health Dorset has made changes to how commissioned services are being delivered.

Sam Crowe, Director of Public Health for Dorset and BCP Councils, said:

“Our teams have been working hard to make sure Dorset residents can still access vital services during the coronavirus outbreak. Like many other services, we’ve had to make some changes in order to protect members of the public and staff and reduce the spread of coronavirus.

“Face-to-face contact is being minimised and virtual support over the phone and online is being offered wherever possible. Keeping our services going at this time is really important to protect the health of Dorset residents and reduce potential further pressure on the NHS.”

The following changes have been made to Public Health Dorset services:

Sexual Health Dorset

All calls and pre-booked appointments will now be conducted as telephone consultations to assess whether a patient needs to be seen in person. There is no walk-in service at Weymouth Hospital, Royal Bournemouth Hospital or The Junction. There is no text-in same day service at Royal Bournemouth Hospital, and all community clinics are closed. The service is now running from three main hubs for emergencies and priority groups.

If you are concerned about symptoms or need advice about contraception, call 0300 303 1948.

Sexual Health Dorset is working with the online service SH:24 to enable Dorset residents to have access to certain methods of contraception and STI testing for free. Visit SH24 for more information. 

Please go to the Sexual Health Dorset website for more information about service changes during this time.

LiveWell Dorset

LiveWell Dorset continues to offer free healthy living advice and coaching. Phone lines remain open from 9am to 6.30pm and people can connect with us via our website as normal.

As partner services (such a slimming groups and pharmacies) revise their offers we are still able to offer a variety of support but are utilising digital solutions such as apps, YouTube, social media and blogs.

The LiveWell Dorset Training team has launched a virtual training offer for employers, and this is available to book now.

LiveWell Dorset has also launched the Five Ways Challenge to support people in looking after their wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak.

Smoking cessation

GPs and pharmacies have stopped all provision of stop-smoking services to new clients, due to the reduction in face-to-face support across healthcare services. They can continue to provide pharmacotherapy and nicotine replacement therapy to existing clients.

LiveWell Dorset are providing behavioural support for smoking cessation and will be able to provide nicotine replacement therapy via post along with telephone support.

Children and young people’s public health nursing

Health visiting and school nursing teams have increased the use of digital contacts across all work and have reduced face-to-face contact for all but essential activity.

New birth visits are a priority and will be provided digitally for all families. Where there is a compelling reason for a home visit, these will be provided for vulnerable families. We will assess the need for these with partners including midwifery.

ChatHealth will continue to provide young people aged 11-19 years with access to information and advice by text on 07480 635511 (Monday – Friday 8.30 – 4.30pm including school holidays).

Capacity is being protected for safeguarding work, including child protection. The Children and Young People’s Public Health Service is reviewing all caseloads to prioritise vulnerable families.

Drug and alcohol treatment services

Most clients are now able to collect medication weekly, rather than daily, to reduce visits to pharmacies. We are working with redeployed council staff from Highways and Passenger Transport to provide delivery to clients who are self-isolating or strictly social distancing. Support is also available over the phone and online.


For more information about coronavirus please visit or

Published on:
07/04/2020, 00:00