The NHS in Wiltshire

Header image

Wiltshire NHS’ challenges and what you can do to help

The NHS is facing a challenging financial future, by 2017 there is likely to be a £100milion annual funding gap in the Wiltshire, B&NES and Swindon area. In fact, it’s predicted that by 2020/21, there will be a £30billion funding gap across the whole NHS.

To enable us to continue providing the best health services for the people of Wiltshire, we need to make substantial savings. Click on the links below to find out more about the challenges NHS Wiltshire is facing and what you can do to help.

NHS Wiltshire’s challenges    >


Listen to Simon Truelove, Acting Accountable Officer, Dr Chetal Sheth, Dr Peter Jenkins, Chair of Wiltshire CCG,
and Dr Richard Sandford-Hill talk about our current challenges


An ageing population and long term conditions

Like the rest of the UK, people in Wiltshire are living longer which is good news but what impact does an ageing population have when there is a limited amount of money to spend on healthcare.

Currently, 22% of our population is over 65 years old and 3% are over 85 years old. These figures are expected to double by 2035 and according to The Telegraph, 1 in 12 people across the UK will be over 80 years old by 2039.

People are living longer but they are not always living well. In Wiltshire there are 75,000 people in the county living with long-term health conditions. This means a significant proportion of our annual budget is spent providing medical care for older people and people with a combination of lots of conditions like diabetes and COPD to live well. In fact:

  • 50% of all GP appointments are for people with a long-term condition
  • 70% of the total days spent in hospital beds are for long-term conditions
  • 70% of hospital and primary care budgets are used to care for people with a long-term condition

This does have an impact on our ability to provide services elsewhere as we only have one pot of money available to us. Find out more in our press release and blog.

Increasing costs and future cuts

The cost of providing care is getting more expensive. In  2013 public sector spending on health care totalled £125.5 billion and the total healthcare spend per person was £2,350, more than two and a half times the level in 1997.

The NHS now provides a much more extensive and sophisticated range of treatments. New drugs, technologies and therapies have made a major contribution to extending the length and quality of people’s lives. However, many healthcare innovations are more expensive than the old technologies they replace.

The NHS is facing this challenge at the same time that the UK is experiencing a tough economical situation and adjusting to much tighter public finances.It’s likely that by 2017 there will be a £100milion annual funding gap in the Wiltshire, B&NES and Swindon area. Find out more in our press release and blog.
Professional shortage

Across the UK there is a shortage of healthcare professionals. Across England, Wales and Northern Ireland there are 23,443 nursing vacancies (9% of the total nursing workforce) and 6,207 doctor vacancies (7% of the total doctor workforce).

Also, there are currently 32 healthcare roles listed on the UK Shortage Occupations List including:

  • Consultant in Neurology
  • Medical staff for emergency medicine
  • Social Worker in Children’s and Family Services
  • Specialist Nurse Working in Neonatal Intensive Care Units
  • Radiotherapy Technologist

The shortage of people working in social care means that together with Wiltshire Council, we’re doing our very best to make sure we can support people when they need it most.  Our number one priority is to make sure that people can get the care and treatment they need either in their own home or as close to home as possible.

It’s not all doom and gloom – we know that we face a tough road ahead, but by working in collaboration with our health colleagues across Wiltshire we’re making some great strides forward to ensure we can properly deal with some of the issues we are currently facing. Find out more in our press release and blog.

Accessing the right healthcare for you    >


Listen to Dr Peter Jenkins, Chair of Wiltshire CCG, Dr Chetal Sheth, Dr Richard Sandford-Hill and Dr Lindsay Kinlin talk about where to access the right healthcare when you’re feeling unwell.

Dr Peter Jenkins, Chair of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group:
“Knowing which services to access for health advice and treatment can seem a little confusing. People often default to ringing the GP or turning up at A&E but with so many other options available this isn’t always the best option.”

If you become unwell or are injured, it’s important to choose the right NHS service to make sure you get the best treatment as quickly as possible.  In Wiltshire, there are numerous ways to access health care advice and treatment.

Demand on healthcare continues to grow and can lead to long waiting times in A&E departments. There are many alternative options for accessing treatment if your condition is not serious our life-threatening but it is not always easy to understand which service is the best for you to use.

For minor injuries and illnesses you might be able to look after yourself at home. If you need help urgently but it is not an emergency, your local pharmacy, GP or the NHS 111 service can help.

If your illness or injury is serious but not life threatening you can get medical help at a minor injuries unit or walk in centre.

Remember you should visit A&E or call 999 for life-threatening emergencies only.

Find out more in our press release and blog

Self care


Self-care is about doing what you can to look after yourself at home. A lot of illnesses or symptoms, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, upset stomachs and aches and pains, can be treated in your home through rest and a well-stocked medicine cabinet.

It is a good idea to have a medicine cabinet where you can keep some basic medication. In doing so it might save you going out if you are not feeling well or if the weather is bad. The following medicines might be useful:-

  • pain relief, such as paracetamol, aspirin and/or ibuprofen
  • antihistamines
  • bite and sting relief spray/cream
  • oral rehydration salts
  • anti-diarrhoea tablets
  • indigestion remedies
  • sun cream
  • cough medicine
  • a first aid kit including plasters, bandages, a thermometer, antiseptic, eyewash solution, sterile dressings, medical tape and tweezers

Remember to always follow the directions on the packets, never exceed the stated dose, and make sure your medicine is not out of date. Also, don’t give aspirin to children under 16 years old as it can cause serious complications in children.

For more information on what you should keep in your medicine cabinet, visit the NHS website.


NHS 111

NHS 111 is a free to call service which will help you when you need advice or access to medical and dental help fast but it is not an emergency.

It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you access local urgent health care services. Call 111 free from a landline or mobile.

Calling 111 will connect you to a team of fully trained call advisers, who are supported by experienced healthcare professionals. They will ask you questions to assess your symptoms, and give you healthcare advice or direct you to the most appropriate service which could be an out-of-hours doctor, walk-in centre, urgent care centre, community nurse, emergency dentist or late opening chemist.

You should call 111 if:

  • it is not a 999 emergency
  • you think you need to go to A&E or another NHS urgent care service but you are not sure
  • you do not think you can wait for an appointment with your GP
  • you do not know who to call for medical help.

If you have difficulties communicating or hearing, you can use the NHS 111 service through a textphone by calling 18001 111.

For more information on NHS 111, visit the NHS website.


Pharmacist (Chemist) 

Your local Pharmacist is a trained expert in medicines who can provide confidential advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses and complaints, such as aches and pains, cystitis, colds and skin rashes. Just a few of the other services pharmacies can provide include:

  • advice on the safe use of prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines
  • the morning after pill
  • pregnancy tests
  • flu vaccinations
  • needle and syringe exchange service

Pharmacies are also increasingly supporting people to improve their health and wellbeing through advice on: healthy eating, physical activity, losing weight and stopping smoking, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Dr Chet Sheth:
We often see people in the surgery with colds and flu which unless the patient is particularly young or elderly, can often be treated at a local pharmacy with over the counter medicines. Pharmacists have a wealth of knowledge on a range of health issues and are experts in medicines – they can also help you to decide whether it’s necessary for you to see a doctor or not if you’re unsure.

Most pharmacies are open until late and at weekends, and many have a quiet area where you can talk to a Pharmacist in private. You also don’t need to book an appointment to see a Pharmacist. For more information about pharmacies, visit the NHS website.

Click here to find your local pharmacy.


General Practitioner (GP)

GPs deal with a whole range of health problems. They also provide health education, offer advice on smoking and diet, run clinics, give vaccinations and carry out simple surgical operations. If your GP cannot deal with a problem, then you’ll usually be referred to a hospital for tests, treatment, or to see a consultant with specialist knowledge.

GPs usually work in practices as part of a team, which includes nurses, healthcare assistants, practice managers, receptionists and other staff. Practices also work closely with other healthcare professionals, such as health visitors, midwives, mental health services and social care services.

For urgent GP out-of-hours just ring your GPs normal number.

Alternatively, you can call NHS 111 if you urgently need medical help or advice but it’s not a life-threatening situation. You can also call NHS 111 if you’re not sure which NHS service you need.

Click here to find your local GP practice.


Minor Injury Units (MIUs)

If you have a minor injury that isn’t serious, you can get help from a MIU rather than going to an A&E department. This will allow A&E staff to concentrate on people with serious, life-threatening conditions and may save you a long wait. MIUs can treat:

  • sprains and strains
  • broken bones
  • wound infections
  • minor burns and scalds
  • minor head injuries
  • insect and animal bites
  • minor eye injuries
  • injuries to the back, shoulder and chest

You don’t need an appointment to visit a minor injury unit.  MIUs are run by a team of highly qualified nurse practitioners with a lot of experience and expertise in the treatment of minor injuries. For more information about MIU services visit the NHS website.

Click here to find your local MIU.


Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments

Accident and emergency departments and the 999 ambulance service are only to be used in a serious or life-threatening situation. A&E provides immediate emergency care 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for people who show the symptoms of serious illness or are badly injured, such as:

  • loss of consciousness
  • acute confused state and fits that are not stopping
  • persistent, severe chest pain
  • breathing difficulties
  • severe bleeding that can’t be stopped
  • severe allergic reactions
  • severe burns or scalds

Less severe injuries can be treated in an MIU.

A&E services are very busy, in 2012/13 alone 18.3 million people accessed A&E departments – that’s over twice size of population of London! People who make unnecessary visits to A&E slow down a service that, for some, can make the difference between life and death.

Only use an A&E service in very serious or life-threatening situations.

If it is a genuine emergency, where someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk, call 999 and don’t panic.

You can contact emergency services via SMS if you are deaf, hearing impaired or have a speech impediment. Visit the emergencySMS website for more information or to register your phone.

For more information on what to do in an emergency, visit the NHS website.

Click here to find your local A&E department.

Taking your health seriously    >


Listen to Dr Peter Jenkins, Chair of Wiltshire CCG, Dr Chetal Sheth, Dr Richard Sandford-Hill and Dr Lindsay Kinlin talk about how staying healthy and living well is our own responsibility.

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is asking people to make small changes to their lifestyles to help them to live well for longer.

Dr Lindsay Kinlin, GP at Avenue Surgery:
“An unhealthy lifestyle has a huge impact on your health.  Some pretty serious diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers can all be linked to a poor diet, lack of exercise and smoking.”

Making sure we stay healthy and live well is our own responsibility. Eating a healthy diet, not smoking and taking plenty of exercise is vital in helping us to maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid potentially life threatening illness such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Find out more in our press release or blog.

The smallest changes to your habits can have a surprising effect and can help make a huge difference to your physical and mental health. Click on the links below for tips to help you stay healthy and live well.


Eating well and having a healthy diet

Howe to eat a balanced dietThe Eatwell guideWater, drinks and your healthCutting down on caloriesCutting down on saltCutting down on sugarBMI healthy weight calculatorOneYou Easy Meals appWiltshire's health trainers
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health, and can help you feel your best. Click here to find out more.
The Eatwell Guide shows how much of what we eat overall should come from each food group to achieve a healthy, balanced diet. Click here to find out more.
It’s easy to overlook, but choosing healthier drinks is a key part of getting a balanced diet. Click here to find out more.
Many of us are eating too much, and not being active enough. That’s why nearly two-thirds of the adult population in England is overweight or obese. Click here to find out how much you should be eating and how to cut the calories.
Too much salt can cause raised blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.  Visit the NHS website for tips on how to cut your the amount of salt you eat. Click here to find out more.
 Every week, people in Britain consume 140 teaspoons of sugar (on average). Added sugars, such as table sugar, honey and syrups, shouldn’t make up more than 5% of the energy you get from food and drink each day. That’s about 30g a day for anyone aged 11 and older. Click here to find out more.
Use the NHS BMI calculator tool to find out if you have a healthy BMI. Click here to use the tool.
Eat healthier versions of the foods you love. You’ll find delicious, easy meal ideas in this free app.

  • Great tips and advice to help you cook healthy and tasty meals.
  • Search recipes by meal time.
  • Find your favourite recipes and create shopping lists.

Click here to download the app.

Through this Wiltshire Council run service, a dedicated health trainer can assist you every step of the way eating healthier food and be a healthy weight. They can also help you find other services and activities. This service is for people aged 18 + and is free. To find out more, click here.

For more information on eating well have having a healthy diet, visit the NHS website.


Being active and moving more

The benefits of exerciseGet active your wayExercise for older peopleGet active with a disability10-minute workoutsCouch to 5K planChange4LifeActiveWiltshireWiltshire's health trainers
Exercise can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%. Click here to find out more.
There are many ways busy mums and dads, families, young people, office workers and older adults can build physical activity into their lives. Click here to find out more.
Keeping active into older age is the key to staying fit, mobile and independent. This NHS guide has step-by-step instructions for exercises focusing on strength, flexibility and balance, with a set of sitting exercises to get you started. Click here to find out more.
Visit the NHS website for information, advice and tips on how to get active if you have  an impairment or a long-term health condition. Click here to find out more.
Short on time? Hate the gym? Too tired to exercise after work? Click here to find some short 10-minute workouts to get your more active.
Taking up running can seem like a scary prospect, especially if you feel out of shape or unfit.The NHS Couch to 5K plan is designed to get you off the couch and gradually work you up to running 5K or for half an hour, in just nine weeks. Click here to find out more, or click here to download the Couch to 5K app.
For advice and tips on how to get the whole family moving more, visit the Change4Life website.
There are many ways to get active in Wiltshire. Whether you’re looking for a new activity, wanting to join a club, or just wanting to find out about opportunities near you, you’ll find what you’re looking for on the ActiveWitlshire website.
Through this Wiltshire Council run service, a dedicated health trainer can assist you every step of the way to gaining more confidence and becoming more active. They can also help you find other services and activities. This service is for people aged 18 + and is free. To find out more, click here.

For more information on being active and moving more, visit the NHS website.


Tips and advice for general wellbeing

Drinking and alcoholOneYou Drinks Trapper appStop smokingNHS Smokefree appWiltshire Stop Smoking serviceDealing with stressWiltshire's health trainers
For tips and advice on how to reduce your drinking, click here to visit the NHS website.
Drinking a bit too much can sneak up on you. The free OneYou drinks tracker app makes it easy to keep an eye on the booze and take control with daily tips and feedback. Click here to find out more.
Want to stop smoking? Find out practical, quick and simple steps you can take now to quit successfully. Click here to find out more.
The Smokefree app can help you stop smoking by providing daily support and motivation. If you stay smokefree for the 4-week programme you’re up to five times more likely to stay quit for good. Join the thousands who have already quit with our support. Click here to find out more.
Wiltshire’s Stop Smoking Service can provide free advice, one-to-one or group support and access to range of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) and other stop smoking medicines. Click here to find out more.
Stress is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure, and pressure turns into stress when you feel unable to cope.A bit of stress is normal and can help push you to do something new or difficult, but too much stress can take its toll. Click here to find out more.
Through this Wiltshire Council run service, a dedicated health trainer can assist you every step of the way to:

  • Improve your general wellbeing
  • Build your self confidence and motivation
  • Eat healthier food and be a healthy weight
  • Reduce or stop smoking
  • Be more active
  • Drink less alcohol
  • Top tips
  • Access to other services and activities

This service is for people aged 18 + and is free. To find out more, click here.