A NEW five-year plan to improve access to GP services and transform mental health schemes in Barnsley has been unveiled.

NHS South Yorkshire’s five-year plan discusses what is most important for keeping people healthy and making sure everyone has ‘equal access’ to health care across the borough.

The plan has been developed by NHS South Yorkshire, working with the region’s hospitals, local councils and voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations.

NHS South Yorkshire have also engaged with local people to create the plan.

Last year they asked people, ‘what matters to you about your health and wellbeing?’ and used the findings for the content of the plan.

More than 2,500 people responded to the consultation.

Better accessibility to GP services, cheaper parking and people wanting to be involved in their own care were the key issues raised.

Gavin Boyle, chief executive at NHS South Yorkshire, said: “On average people in South Yorkshire live shorter lives and spend more years in poor health than other parts of the country.

“There are differences in the experience of health and care services and health outcomes for some of our communities which are unfair and must be tackled.

“This plan seeks to do this.

“The recovery of health services following the pandemic will continue to be a priority, so that local people can access the care and support they need in a timely way.

“However, we will put greater emphasis on working alongside our neighbourhoods to promote good health and prevent illness.

“We will also further develop services in our communities adopting innovative ways to provide care closer to home and reduce avoidable admissions to hospital care for both physical and mental illness.

“We are listening to our partners and our communities and we will continue to develop our plan in response.”

The forward plan has been developed at a challenging time for the NHS and wider public services, who are still managing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, whilst also dealing with operational and workforce pressures, periods of industrial action and more recently the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on Barnsley communities.

There are seven key areas of focus in the plan.

They include improving maternity services and access to GPs, transforming community services and optimising cancer pathways.

NHS South Yorkshire is inviting residents to comment on the plans.

Email helloworkingtogether@nhs.net by the end of July to supply your views.