In Dorset, our hospitals, GPs, community and mental health providers and commissioning organisations are working together with the ambition to fundamentally change the way our outpatient services are delivered.

On average nationally, outpatient appointments (where a patient is referred to a hospital but not admitted) account for 85% of all hospital-based activity. Last year, nearly one million outpatient appointments took place in Dorset which equates to approximately 15 million miles in travelling to and from hospital.

Virtual consultations

Alongside face-to-face appointments, a virtual consultation with our clinicians can be a suitable and more convenient way for you to access our outpatient services. By offering a digital-first approach to appointments, we can support you in saving time and money associated with travel and enable you to access care more quickly.

Our secondary care outpatient services in Dorset use Attend Anywhere as our video consultation platform

Digital tools to support you and your health condition

In Dorset, over 40% of our patients currently have one or more long-term health conditions. Our ambition is to increase the resources available to support you, to help give you the confidence to better manage your long-term health conditions at home. By increasing access to tools such as health information videos and apps to help you monitor your health condition remotely, you can access clinically assured medical advice more readily.

Dorset’s App Library Finder

Health and Care Video Library

Introducing Patient Initiated Follow-up Appointments

Evidence has shown that many patients with long-term conditions, or following hospital treatment, do not need regular follow-up appointments with our hospital teams. We believe it is more important to ensure you have timely access to a specialist clinician when you need it most, e.g. during a flare-up of symptoms. Used in conjunction with our digital-first approach, patient initiated follow-up (PIFU) appointments will empower you to access care if and when you need it, helping to keep you safe and saving the inconvenience of attending unnecessary appointments.

For a full list of services currently offering PIFU and for more information, please visit your hospital’s website.

Attending our outpatient appointments

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge for health care services everywhere, including your local hospitals in Dorset. Throughout, we have been committed to keeping our services going to support our patients.

For more information on what to do in preparation for your upcoming outpatient appointment, please visit your hospitals website.

Improving our communications

There is lots of scope for the ways in which our services communicate with you, and each other, to be improved. By putting patient experience at the centre of our re-design work, we are aiming to streamline how we communicate to ensure you are well prepared for your appointments and procedures, are notified quickly of any changes, and can quickly and easily communicate with us if you need to do so.

Latest news

Pop-up clinics: reducing waiting times and improving access to outpatient services

Our biggest and most important challenge is supporting our clinicians to provide more timely access to our services when you need them the most. Across the country, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an increase in waiting times for both new and existing patients requiring access to outpatient services. In Dorset, we are looking at innovative ways to support our patients to be seen more quickly, with a focus on safety, social distancing and maintaining an excellent standard of care.

Last year our virtual appointments helped us achieve

Patient travel miles saved
Quality-adjusted life years saved
Hours of patient time saved through avoided face-to-face appointments
Car parking spaces saved
A reduction of 13.7 tonnes of CO2 emissons
It would take 7.2 hectares of forest a year to capture that amount of CO2
Methodology & source information

Calculation methodology is based on the Sustainable Development Unit’s Health Outcomes of Travel Tool (HOOT)

  1. Taken from Journey Time Statistics publication, 2017
  2. Taken from methodology used by US Environmental Protection Agency
  3. Taken from NASA – Solar System Exploration – Earth by the number
(These are one year stats)


  • Estimated annual total based upon activity between April 2020 – March 2021
  • This represents total virtual activity (telephone and video appointments) across Dorset