Moneypot to help struggling services cope over winter
Improvements to buildings and changes to services are planned to boost A&E services at hospitals across the country.
Emergency units will share a £500m government moneypot over the next two years to ensure they are properly prepared for future winter pressures.
The announcement this week comes after it was revealed there are more 1 million extra people visiting A&E compared to three years ago, with last year’s harsh winter putting exceptional pressure on urgent care and emergency wards.
By acting now, we can ensure doctors, nurses and NHS staff have the support they need and patients are not left facing excessive waits for treatment
The new funding will go to A&E departments identified as being under the most pressure and be targeted at ‘pinch points’ in local services.
The aim is for patients to be treated promptly, with fewer delays in A&E, and for other patients to get the care, prescriptions or advice they need without going to A&E.
As part of the initiative, hospitals have put forward proposals aimed at improving how their services work. These include improvements to both A&E and improvements to other services away from A&E so there are less unnecessary visits or longer stays in urgent and emergency wards.
Initiatives include minimising A&E attendances and hospital admissions from care homes by appointing hospital specialists in charge of joining up services for the elderly, seven-day social work, increased hours at walk-in centres, increased intermediate care beds, and an extension to pharmacy services. Many of these interventions will require changes to the buildings from which care is delivered.
Prime Minister, David Cameron, said: “With over a million more people visiting A&E in the last three years, services and staff can find themselves under pressure during the busier winter period. While A&E departments are performing well this summer, and at a level we would expect for this time of year, I want the NHS to take action now to prepare for the coming winter.
“The additional funding will go to hospitals where the pressure will be greatest, with a focus on practical measures that relieve pinch points in local services.
“By acting now, we can ensure doctors, nurses and NHS staff have the support they need and patients are not left facing excessive waits for treatment.”
We will do whatever it takes to make sure the best A&E care is there for every patient when they need it, and we’re backing our hard-working NHS staff with the resources they need to deliver this
Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary, added: “This £500m will help A&E departments to prepare for winter and give patients confidence that they can quickly access safe and reliable emergency care.
“We will do whatever it takes to make sure the best A&E care is there for every patient when they need it, and we’re backing our hard-working NHS staff with the resources they need to deliver this.”