TOWN councillors in Bradford on Avon have agreed a plan to spend an extra £15,000 on Health and Wellbeing services in the town.

They have allocated £15,000 towards preventative services, bringing the total they have pledged to spend in this area to more than £21,000 in 2019-2020.

The new health and wellbeing policy, drafted by council leader Cllr Dominic Newton, makes clear the town council is not stepping in to take on primary healthcare responsibilities.

However the council will work to identify areas of need which are not being met and which could reduce pressure on primary care services, made worse locally by Bradford on Avon and Melksham Health Partnership’s difficulties in finding new GPs.

Cllr Newton said: “Councillors have been meeting 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.”

Ideas have included jointly commissioning a health visitor service for the town to re-introduce advice and support for parents of young children, reducing their need to visit GPs.

Councillors will also review support for projects like the well-attended Monday Leg Club and the jointly commissioned Living Well project.

“We 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.

“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 support that we can see our community needs,” Cllr Newton said.