NHS Scotland gets ready for winter.
Investment of £10.7 million will help ease pressure on Scotland's NHS across the winter months.
The funding, announced by Health Secretary Shona Robison during a visit to Dundee, will go towards helping boards to improve weekend discharging of patients from hospital, increase staffing over the festive period and provide more patient transport.
In addition, funding will also be used to assist health boards with improving outpatient performance as well as support specific health board pressures over winter.
In addition to the £10.7 million investment, funding announced earlier this year to assist with winter resilience includes:
- More than £30 million in 2015/16 from the £100 million investment over three years to tackle delays in patients being discharged from hospital
- £9 million from the £50 million Unscheduled Care Fund which boards are using to implement the six essential actions for A&E and to support hospitals over winter
- £5 million to NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde to support resilience and capacity over the first winter following the opening of the new Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and other linked Acute Service Changes.
This brings total investment by the Scottish Government for winter resilience to around £55 million.
Funding to tackle delays in discharging patients from hospital will be used to support additional social care and maintaining additional intermediate care beds over winter which allow patients to be discharged from hospital quicker.
Speaking ahead of a visit to the Bluebell Unit at intermediate care facility Riverside View in Dundee, Health Secretary Shona Robison welcomed this year's investment.
Ms Robison said:
"We know that winter can put additional pressures on the hospital system, which is why this government is committed to providing additional support to health boards.
"This year's funding, which comes to around £55 million in total, will help target improving A&E waiting times and patient flow through hospital as well as tackling delayed discharge – which we know create additional challenges over the winter months.
"Boards have already been allocated much of this funding, putting them on the front foot as we head towards winter. This also follows on from our winter guidance, issued in August – the earliest we have issued winter guidance – which asks boards to have in place strategies for staffing additional capacity to maintain progress towards minimising delays in discharging patients.
"With more people now living with long term conditions and a growing number of older people with multiple conditions and complex needs, it is vital that we have robust preventative care plans in place for winter.
"We know that the increased pressure on our emergency departments can lead to health boards having to cancel some elective procedures, which is why we're asking boards for whole system activity plans for winter.
"This includes ensuring there are effective systems in place to discharge patients at the weekend and over the festive period and coping with peaks in demand as well as ensuring outpatient performance is improved and maintained. Today's funding will help support boards to achieve this.
"Health boards will also use the funding to inform people about when they should turn to A&E – it is vital that people only go to A&E if they have had an accident or their condition falls into the emergency category. For anything else, NHS 24 and GP out of hours services are available throughout the festive period – and indeed the whole of the winter."
The Scottish Government announced £100 million over three years to help health boards tackle delayed discharge in January 2015 : http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/-100-million-for-delayed-discharge-14b9.aspx
In March 2015 the Scottish Government committed £5 million to NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde from the Performance Fund to support A&E performance as services moved to the new Queen Elizabeth University Hospital: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Commitment-to-driving-up-performance-16bd.aspx
In May 2015 the Scottish Government announced investment of £9 million from the £50 million unscheduled care fund to support health boards to deliver on the six essential actions for unscheduled care: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/A-E-improvement-plan-launches-18cd.aspx
In addition to Scottish Government investment, health boards will also be allocating funding from their own budgets to support winter resilience.
A full breakdown of how the funding is to be allocated will be available in due course.