NHS prepares for demand

THE NHS in North Somerset is preparing itself for a population surge and a potential strain on health services.

The district’s population is expected to grow by 40 per cent over the next 20 years and Weston Area Health Trust has drawn up a plan to deal with an increase in demand over the next couple of decades.

It says the area already has a higher proportion of residents aged over 65 than both regional and national averages and has been studying population trends as part of its report Integrated Care In North Somerset, which looks at the system of health care in the area.

The report says those aged 65 or over currently make up 23 per cent of the community, but that will rise to 30 per cent by 2025. The report added that the knock-on effect will be that the number of people living with long-term problems like diabetes and heart diseases will also increase ‘significantly’.

It added: “People are going to live longer lives, but with an increasingly complex mix of health and social care needs.

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“This means they will need more professional support than previous generations.”

According to the report, the number of families with young children is also expected to increase because of new housing developments, which includes a 34 per cent increase in the number of children aged 15 and under.

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North Somerset Council, NHS organisations and other groups in the area have come up with a new system of working called Integrated Care.

Teams of professionals from local authorities and health care groups will work with GPs, in an aim to speed up access to services and reduce the number of people long-term going into residential and nursing care prematurely.

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