HEALTH and care organisations in Swindon have unveiled plans which they hope will improve services delivered in the town and cut costs.

Swindon, Wiltshire, and Bath and North East Somerset health services have united to devise a more co-ordinated strategy to ease the NHS financial deficit.

The Sustainability and Transformation Plan they have come up with is the result of months of work between the various health bodies across the region.

This comes after health and care organisations in Swindon and the surrounding region were warned their financial overspend could rise from £6m to £337m by 2021 unless urgent action is taken.

Plans to streamline diabetes care, mental health services, and support for the elderly feature heavily in the strategy.

It highlights three focus areas where planners say fundamental change is needed - improving health and wellbeing, improving the quality of care people receive and ensuring services are efficient.

Sue Wald, director of adult social services at Swindon Borough Council said she hoped the STP would eradicate disjointed care in the town.

“This is about working together, to engage with our partners and the people living in Swindon. If we identify a benefit to certain organisations working together to deliver services in Swindon, that is what we will do.

“We need to improve the ways we work in partnership, so that it is less disjointed and in which it will benefit our financial situation.

"There’s the potential for us to work together and make a real difference to Swindon services and address the issues in Swindon which are health inequalities, diabetes care and service for the elderly.”

Nicki Millin, accountable officer at Swindon CCG said: “The plan sets out new ways of working together to meet the many significant challenges facing the health and care system, as well as providing the framework within which detailed proposals will develop over the next five years."

Swindon CCG will work with Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Swindon Borough Council to gather public opinion on the STP in the new year.

But Healthwatch Swindon have urged the health organisations to be more transparent in their plans.

A spokesman said: “It is good that finally the STP document for our area has been published. However, there is very little ‘easy to understand’ information available for the public about what our STP means.

“Given the challenges the NHS and social care face, the STP cannot afford to be scared of engaging with the public.

“If the STP fails to involve people in any big decisions they will not only face opposition to the changes but they will also miss out on a golden opportunity to make the right changes first time.

James Scott, senior responsible officer for the B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire STP, said: “Over the coming months there will be opportunities for service users, their families and carers, and other members of the public to get involved to help us to shape and build on these priorities, help us to transform services and co-design solutions to meet the challenges we face with the resources we have available to us. Standing still is not an option.”