Image of GP with Elderly Man

Oxfordshire has a population of 672,000 and is a popular place to live, study, work and grow old. Recently we have seen substantial growth in housing in the county, particularly around Bicester and Didcot where 22,000 new homes are planned over the next few years.

Oxfordshire enjoys an overall good quality of life and is a generally high performing area in both wealth and health. We have higher than average national earnings as well as good health outcomes for people in key areas such as cancer survival rates. We also have world-class medical research and development on our doorstep and Oxford University Hospital is one of the largest suppliers of specialist care services in the UK. 

The challenges ahead

Oxfordshire has a very healthy older population but we expect to see the numbers of over 65 and 85 year olds growing over the next 10 years and that could increase the number of people living with complex health problems and coping with living alone or becoming frail.

Despite the overall picture looking good, health outcomes are not equally good for everyone; particularly people living in our most deprived communities in the north or in Oxford city who often experience more ill health than others. 

The changes in the population, higher expectations, the new possibilities that technology brings, set against a potential future funding gap if we do nothing differently, are creating a range of challenges for us to manage, including:

  • Local GPs under pressure as they manage an increasing number of patients with more complex problems whilst trying to organise themselves to provide a first class service 7 days a week
  • Patients struggling to see their GP with as many as 34% of people reporting long waits for primary care services
  • As many as 20% of people choosing A&E rather than visiting their GP surgery, putting A&E under severe strain
  • Difficulty in recruiting and retaining staff across the county creating a gap in the skilled workforce needed to provide best care
  • A potential £200m funding gap if we do nothing differently