Swindon is growing – and it will continue to grow rapidly.

And that will have an impact on the town’s health services.

Statistics show Swindonians are also growing too much - with 64 per cent of us being overweight or obese, and with weight-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes making a premature death significantly more likely

That alarming figure has prompted one senior councillor, Brian Ford, Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member for adult services to call for individuals to take more responsibility for their own health and wellbeing.

MORE NEWS: Read councillor Ford's tough stance on people's eating habits. 

The latest Joint Strategic Needs Assessment put together by officers from Swindon council and the Clinical Commissioning Group suggests that Swindon’s population will grow from 220,000 now to 244,000 by 2028 and then to 260,000 by 2038.

That would make Swindon bigger than major cities like Southampton are now.

And it includes some fascinating and alarming facts about how we live now.

On the positive side, the teenage pregnancy rate is dropping. In 2016 there were 72 conceptions by girls under the age of 18 – that’s a third of the rate in 2000.

MORE NEWS: Read the full assessment on teenage pregnancy here.

Life expectancy is growing in the town too, with men in Swindon having a greater life expectancy than the average for England.

But life expectancy for women in the town, while growing, is lower than it is for both the English average and for the south west overall at 83.0 years.

Women will, according to the report, spend 74 per cent of their lives in good health, compared to 80 for men.

That may be a statistical blip, according to borough council officer Tom Frost, who said: “This is taken from the Office of National Statistics Quality of Life survey, and in that there was a high proportion in the 16-19 age group of women who had reported they hadn’t had good or very good health, particularly mental health – and that seems to have had a disproportionate effect of the statistics”

The assessment will also be used by NHS Swindon’s Clinical Commissioning Group to help it direct and commission services such as GPs and other clinics to address the changing and developing health needs of Swindon.

The interim deputy chief executive Nicki Millin said the assessment would be discussed first by the CCG’s Clinical Leadership Group next month and then by the CCG board in May.

She said: “This is an annual process and feeds into the CCG’s planning cycle and there are a number of priorities for us in the report.

“One is the number of people in the town with long-term conditions. That is very much a CCG priority and we are working developing a range of services such as with the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies for people with long-term conditions.”

The assessment says that estimates “suggest about a third of people in Swindon have a long-term condition, although many will not be limited in their day to day lives”.

Ms Millin added that cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, which are featured in the NHS Long Term Plan, were also major priorities for the CCG.

She said: “We have a long-term plan to work are working with GP surgeries for support on these issues.

“We’ll have more we can say on our plans after the leadership group and the board have discussed the assessment.”

At Great Western Hospital the document is also studied.

Kevin McNamara, director of strategy and community services at the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Assessing the current and future health and wellbeing needs of people in Swindon gives us a better understanding of the environment we’re operating in and the people we serve.

“The assessment is useful in helping us understand where demand is likely to increase in the future and how we plan to meet that demand.

“Our recent successful bid for £30 million of national funding to expand and develop our emergency department and front door services is a great example of how planning around the information available in the assessment makes a real difference.”