Health and care experts have pledged their support for major plans to transform health and adult social care services in Dorset over the coming years.

A conference marked the official launch of the ‘Better Together’ programme, a new Dorset-wide initiative that will radically change the way health and care services are delivered.

The conference was organised by Dorset County Council (DCC) in partnership with Dorset NHS bodies, Borough of Poole and Bournemouth Borough Council.

More than 150 representatives from local councils, independent and voluntary sector organisations attended.

Lyme Regis GP Forbes Watson, chairman of NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “I would like to see health and social care working as one system of integrated services responding to the needs of the local population.”

The event at The Springfield Hotel, Wareham, also included people with personal experience of using services. The chairman of Dorset Carers Partnership, Peter Vice, shared his experience of being a carer. He said reducing duplication and making services easier to access on a local level would be a step in the right direction for carers.

The plans have already been met with government approval and will receive £750,000 from the new Transformation Challenge Award.

Andrew Webster, associate director for health and social care integration, Local Government Association, talked about the challenges ahead for local authorities and health bodies.

With rising demand for services and reduced budgets, sharing resources and joining up services would help bring about the radical changes needed.

Coun Spencer Flower, leader at Dorset County Council, said: “Local government and the NHS have worked closely in recent years and ‘Better Together’ will build on this.

“By joining forces we can work towards seamless, more tailored packages of health and social care. This will benefit Dorset residents and make best use of available public resources.”

Coun Elaine Atkinson, leader of the council, Borough of Poole, said: “I’m committed to developing integrated skills across the sectors, to work better together as well as encouraging greater opportunities for employment in health and social care.”