26th February 2019

Town Council to support local Health & Well-being services

Town Councillors have confirmed a decision made in setting the new year’s budget to provide significant additional funding for Health and Well-being services in the town. £15,000 will go towards preventative services, bringing the total committed spend in this area to more than £21,000 in 2019-2020.

The new Health and Well-Being policy, drafted by Leader of the Council, Dom Newton, makes clear that this is not the Town Council stepping in to take on primary care responsibilities – instead it will work with the Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, the local GP partnership and Wiltshire Council to identify areas of need which are not currently being met, and which would act to reduce pressure on primary care services.

Ideas have included jointly commissioning a Health Visitor service for the town – reintroducing advice and support for parents of young children and, importantly, reducing their need to attend GP services, freeing up clinical places.

Town Councillors will also review how it supports projects like the well-attended Leg Club, and the jointly commissioned Living Well project, and hope to make sure those services are supported and provide the best possible value for the town and those that use them.

Cllr Newton said:

“Councillors have been meeting with health services in the town for some months now, and have been hearing consistent messages, that have led to this policy decision.  We will be working with local GPs, the CCG and Wiltshire Council at Area Board level and beyond to put in place health and well-being support services that are tailored to local needs – whether that’s health visitor services for new parents and children, loneliness services for older people, or support for mental health.

The key element to all of this – as we’ve done in the areas of youth, and in our recent support for the Floaty Boat Fund – is to build preventative services; services which are cheaper and more effective than trying to fix problems after they happen.  We don’t expect this money to address or fill every gap – that requires a national conversation.  But locally,  we will provide the support that we can see our community needs”.