The Scottish Government has welcomed plans from NHS Tayside to manage the additional demands of winter.
NHS Tayside has received more than £950,000 in funding from the Scottish Government, to carry out this work.
This allocation is part of a wider investment of £28.2 million across Scotland. This includes £10 million invested in the Winter Resilience Fund, £8.2 million from the Unscheduled Care Action Plan fund to improve the way emergency care operates within hospitals, as well as £10 million to tackle bed blocking in wards.
The central allocations have been targeted to focus spend on patient flow issues both within hospitals and wider health and social care settings.
NHS Tayside will use the funding to:
- Support additional transport arrangements with the Scottish Ambulance Service to support weekend and evening discharge and seven day working
- Provide additional AHP and pharmacy staff to support weekend working throughout the winter period
- Identify additional bed capacity
- Roll-out flu vaccination sessions in GP surgeries. Community pharmacy providing vaccination for staff that drops in
This will aim to ease pressures across the system, including reducing waiting times in A&E.
Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “I welcome this commitment from NHS Tayside to cope with extra demands at this time of year.
“Winter brings additional pressures for the health service, and this funding will help to ensure preparations are in place.
“While people can help ease the strain by stocking up their medicine cabinet, getting a free vaccination if at risk of flu and knowing when their GP surgery is closed, the NHS still needs to play its part in preparing for whatever winter might bring.
“In October we announced that an additional £8.2 million from the Unscheduled Care Action Plan fund was to be spent improving the way emergency care operates within hospitals. This is part of our three-year £50 million commitment to help boards make changes to their unscheduled care. This money is now being used to improve how our NHS runs and ensure people are seen quickly and treated effectively.
“We have also committed £10 million to tackle delayed discharge, which will aim to improve patient flow through hospital and this month invested a further £10 million in the Winter Resilience Fund which will help health boards with seasonal pressures.
“This announcement today by NHS Tayside will build on the work being carried out across Scotland this winter to make sure Scotland’s NHS is well prepared to maintain the high standards that patients deserve.”
In addition, all boards have been issued guidance outlining how they can prepare effectively for winter. These measures include:
- Having robust plans in place in the event of severe weather
- Reducing the number of delayed discharges by working with local authorities
- Scheduling planned treatment well in advance
- Vaccinating as many NHS staff as possible against flu
- Ensuring appropriate out of hours cover, particularly over the festive period.
Director of Acute Services at NHS Tayside, Lorna Wiggin said:
“This additional funding is very welcome at this time of year when services are at their most pressured.
“We will use this funding to further our winter planning strategy, ensuring that we deliver the right services to the right people at the right time.”
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