The body that delivers health services in Harrow said it is aware of the “financial challenges” it faces after it announced its latest plan.

Harrow Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) noted that it has had to find around £39 million worth of savings between 2016/17 and 2020/21 to maintain its current service.

This, it explained, stems from an increase in demand for health services in the borough – people are living longer and there is a greater “prevalence of disease”.

The CCG had an overspend of £20 million for 2017/18, with a similar figure earmarked for this year.

In a report into its commissioning intentions for the next two years, the CCG outlined its plan to improve access to primary care for everyone in the face of financial strain.

It said: “Our commissioning intentions for 2019/21 continue our commitment to deliver high quality health care to our local residents with the resources we have available.

“We recognise there are financial challenges and increased demand within the system, which is why we are focusing on improving equitable access for all so everyone can access the right service at the right time.”

This includes proposals to make it easier to book appointments with doctors and improved facilities where patients receive care.

In the report, the CCG notes that “patients will be educated, empowered and encouraged to care for themselves and manage their conditions”.

As an example of the streamlining process, Alexandra Avenue Health Centre was turned into an appointment-only service when it had previously been a walk-in.

The decision was met with opposition from residents and Harrow councillors but Javina Seghal, managing director of Harrow CCG, explained that it ensured that more people would be able to access a GP and “at the right time that suits them”.