The new NHS England Medical Director, Professor Stephen Powis, made his first visit to Dorset since taking up the role last week.

Professor Powis has been in post for six months following a career as a doctor in an acute hospital setting. He was joined by colleague Dr Nikita Kanani, Deputy Director of Primary Care for NHS England, and Dorset’s own Dr Karen Kirkham.

The trip focussed on primary care, and the ways local GPs are working within their practices to improve services for patients. Discussions also concentrated on the future of Dorset’s health and social care as an Integrated Care System, and what Dorset is doing differently to improve patient care.

Professor Powis’ whirlwind tour began with a visit to Providence Surgery in Boscombe, where he spoke with Dr Mufeed Ni’man and the team about the innovative work they’re doing in driving patient benefits, followed by a tour of the surgery. Dr Ni’man are the first general practice in Dorset to have brought practices together to make the best use of staff skills and experience to the benefit of all patients. The team of 160 health professionals, which includes doctors, nurses, paramedics, physiotherapist and pharmacist, work together to provide care to 30,000 patients in a socially deprived area.

The next stop was Kinson Road Medical Centre, Bournemouth, for a chat with the team about the how they have also brought together other practices in a challenging area so they can help each other to improve quality standards in the care and management of patients. Professor Powis tweeted, “Different context but same key ingredients – leadership, vision, ambition and scale.”

It was then over to Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group’s Poole office for a discussion with clinical leaders from across the Our Dorset integrated care system, which Professor Powis tweeted “is going from strength to strength”. He also took the opportunity to invite comments on a new ten-year plan for health services in England.

Over to the west of Dorset, where Professor Powis visited Dorset County Hospital for a tour of the Emergency Department. He spoke with senior clinical management about the challenges of being a rural district general hospital and maintaining emergency care, which the hospital is doing with great success. Professor Powis also had a demonstration of the Dorset Care Record, which links health and social care information to improve care across the county. Dorset County tweeted about the day, saying they were “delighted” to have the NHS England team to visit.

The tour finished with a meeting with Dr Forbes Watson and the CCG’s Governing Body GP leads for a discussion about the future of primary care and empowering integrated care systems, including Our Dorset.
Professor Powis described his visit to Dorset on social media as ‘an inspiring day.’
Dr Forbes Watson, Dorset CCG Chair, said: “We were very pleased to have Professor Steve Powis visit Dorset.

“I hope we were able to show him how the different parts of our integrated care system were begging to work together to improve the patient experience and outcomes.”