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The NHS, Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group and Public Health

People may think the NHS is one organisation responsible for providing health care for everyone in the UK.  In fact, the NHS is made up of lots of different organisations working together to ensure patients’ health needs are met.  The sections below contain further information. 


Commissioning is about getting the best possible health outcomes for the local population. This involves: 

  • assessing local needs  
  • identifying priorities and agreeing strategies 
  • buying services on behalf of the population from providers such as hospitals, clinics and community health bodies 

Commissioning is an ongoing process which constantly responds and adapts to changing local circumstances. 

What is a Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)?

A Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is a commissioning body responsible for designing and planning different types of health services for adults and children.

It includes a range of professionals, such as GPs and others from clinical and business backgrounds.  It has a Governing Body, including a chair and a lay member with a lead role in championing patient and public involvement.

Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group is responsible for services in Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole and Dorset. 

Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)

Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group is the NHS organisation responsible for planning and commissioning health care services in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.  

They are responsible for the health of the population and are measured by how much they improve outcomes. 

Dorset CCG works closely with the local authorities in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole and Dorset to improve the wellbeing of children and adults in the area. This includes supporting local authorities, where appropriate, in community care assessments and in supporting local education (for example, to help the local authority in providing support for children with special educational needs).


Services for children and young people with SEND

The CCG works in partnership with BCP Council and Dorset Council to support health services for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).  See their website for further information. 

The Designated Clinical Officer (DCO) supports BCP Council and the CCG to meet its statutory responsibilities for children and young people with SEND. The DCO also agrees the health services within an education, health and care (EHC) plan. 

The DCO for Dorset CCG is Steve Clarke. You can contact him on 

The Statement of Intent sets out the role of Dorset CCG and what you can expect from the CCG in relation to special educational needs and disability and services for children and young people with SEND.   

Which services does the CCG commission?

The CCG commissions:

  • primary care services provided by GP’s
  • urgent care (for example A&E, ambulance services) and the telephone 111 service for non-urgent advice across Dorset
  • hospital care (except some highly specialised services)
  • community services (for example speech and language therapy and community  nursing)
  • rehabilitation services (except some highly specialised services)
  • maternity and newborn services (excluding neonatal intensive care)
  • children’s healthcare services (mental and physical health)
  • services for people with learning disabilities
  • mental health services (including psychological therapies)
  • NHS continuing healthcare.

Public Health Services

Public health refers to services offered to all people to help them lead healthy lifestyles. Information and advice, monitoring and signposting are all part of the public health offer.  Public Health Dorset is involved in commissioning:

NHS England

NHS England leads the National Health Service in England.  Find out more about what they do.

What is a health provider?

A health provider is an organisation that has the responsibility for delivering health services for a specified group of people. They are sometimes referred to as ‘trusts’.  Health providers are sometimes NHS organisations, but this is not always the case. 

Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA)

The local NHS, local authorities and other public sector partners work together to undertake a Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA). This enables understanding of  current and future health and wellbeing needs of the local population.  

Public Health Dorset co-ordinate the JSNA on behalf of local Wellbeing Boards. 

Watch a video about the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment