A THOROUGH plan of action has been rolled out by health chiefs in Swindon to tackle the alarming rise in people living with long-term conditions such as diabetes, heart failure and dementia.

In 2001, 27,476 people reported having a long term condition which limited them in some way. Ten years later, that number had reached 32,302.

An ageing population has also meant that a substantial proportion of residents now suffer from multiple illnesses.

To slow down this trend over the next five years and better care for patients, the Swindon Clinical Commissioning group has set out a catalogue of measures, which will soon be rolled out to the health service.

These include providing patients with better information to allow them to monitor their conditions, promote self care, and put pressure on medical staff to carry out regular screenings.

Signposting patients and carers to support groups, charities or organisations will also become routine to tackle the rise in people with long-term conditions and allow them to receive the care they deserve.

Running specific health programmes for hard to reach communities and ethnic groups will become a priority, as will providing much faster access to specialist clinicians and district nurses to look after patients.

Paul Bearman, executive director of commissioning at Swindon CCG said: “NHS Swindon Clinical Commissioning Group is committed to enhancing the quality of life for people with long-term conditions – such as diabetes, heart failure and dementia – by commissioning services that appropriately support patients’ and carers’ needs and help them manage their own conditions.

“We know that like other parts of the UK, Swindon faces a significant growth in demand for these and other services. This is especially important when we consider that a key impact of our ageing population has been an increase in the number of residents who have multiple conditions. and the extent of their .

“Swindon CCG will invest in a number of programmes to improve the lives of our patients with long-term conditions. These include reducing the pressure on local GP services due to urgent care which will release time for longer patient consultations for people with long-term conditions. In addition we propose to utilise improved technology between GPs and hospital consultants, providing much more rapid, timely consultations.

“Other possible pieces of work include expert patient programmes supported by peer and voluntary networks and local training programmes.”