NAW '24

Spotlight On...

Health & Social Care in Somerset

Somerset has a resident population of around 571,600 and over the next 25 years, that is expected to rise by about 15%. However, what is interesting within the health and social care context, is that the number of those over 75 is expected to double (source: Adult Social Care Strategy). As people live longer, that aging population presents certain challenges as they are more likely to be living with long-term conditions. This picture puts pressure on the NHS, the Local Authority, independent care organisations and individual family members.

A graphic showing key demographic data in Somerset.

The image above, taken from the Somerset Health and Care Strategy shows the current situation, already highlighting key areas such as the rate of obesity, the rate of depression, the rate of smoking and the number of those that have a long term healthcare condition or disability. When this is combined with the number of people living in a rural area, or a deprived neighbourhood, or a low income family, and those that do not have access to a car, how healthcare is administered and by whom, becomes very important.

The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP) states that there is significant demand for skills and roles in health and social care compounded by an ageing population and the effects of the pandemic . Basically, there is currently, and will continue to be excellent opportunities for those considering a career in the healthcare sector in Somerset. Those roles may be clinical or non-clinical, in adult care or in social care, within the NHS or an independent care provider.

The political framework in which this sector works has undergone considerable changes in the last year or so. In April '23, the various district councils merged to become one unitary authority - Somerset Council. The Council has two functions:

  • an operational service made up of front line social care teams), and
  • an adult social care commissioning and quality service

This latter group is largely serviced by independent care sector providers (for-profit and volunteer organisations).

There is also an Integrated Care Board and a Health & Wellbeing Board (who are aligned together), as well as strong relationships with local independent care providers and voluntary and community sector partners, and a thriving micro-provider market . The Adult Care Strategy points to an enormous potential for social care to help people stay healthy, happy and independent through scaling up our preventative, person-centred, strengths-based approaches.

All of this points to a strong demand and excellent career progression for those that are interested in the health and care services. Gaining new skills and knowledge in adult care, leadership, communication, and digital skills, underpinned by experience, will be important to individuals and the region as a whole. It's a promising time to start a rewarding career.

Contact Swatpro to find out how we can help you to start that career, or gain the skills to progress your existing career.


Appendix B Adult Social Care Strategy 2023_2026.pdf (

Somerset-Health-and-Care-Strategy-compressed.pdf (

Heart of the South West Local Skills Report (