Fylde MP welcomes hospital winter pressure funding

Fylde MP Mark Menzies has welcomed a further £2.5 million of Government funding to help deal with winter pressures at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

The funding was made available as part of a wider £420 million package to support hospitals, social care and ambulance services through winter.

Mr Menzies said: “I’m pleased to see this funding has been given to Blackpool Victoria Hospital ahead of the harsh winter weather we are expecting.

“Winter always brings pressures on the dedicated staff at the hospital and I hope this funding, in conjunction with social care funding and ambulance service funding, goes a long way to help them.

“I’m told there is some £240 million extra in social care this winter, which will provide more than 30,000 additional care packages to support people in their homes, as well as a further 9,000 care home beds.

“And I have already welcomed the extra £36.3 million which has paid for more than 250 new ambulances on the roads.

“So I am pleased to see the Vic also receiving a further £2.5 million of funding for winter to help staff give the best possible care to patients.”

Mr Menzies wrote to the hospital trust’s boss to ask how winter preparations were taking shape.

Wendy Swift, chief executive of the hospital, said in a letter to Mr Menzies: “Our aim, as always, is to improve patient experience and performance in urgent and emergency care services on the Fylde coast.

“There are clear priorities within the plan with the focus being on admission avoidance, treatment whilst in hospital and a greater focus on return to home schemes.

“The plan is based on having robust care pathways and processes in place all year round with specific initiatives to mage seasonal pressures.

“The winter plan is a dynamic plan and is continually being updated; its oversight is via the accident and emergency delivery board. We will be continually reviewing the effectiveness of these plans and will monitor the system for safety and quality.”

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “I want to help the NHS through this winter.

“I have already provided funding for hospitals to make upgrades to their buildings to deal with pressures this winter, and I am making an extra £240 million available to councils to pay for social care packages this winter to support our NHS.

“We will use this money to get people who don’t need to be in hospital, but do need care, back home, back into their communities, so we can free up those vital hospital beds, and help people who really need it, get the hospital care they need.”

Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive, said: “Helping patients go home when they are ready is vital to easing pressure on the NHS, particularly busy A&E departments.

“So, as the government develops a comprehensive social care funding solution, hospitals will rightly welcome this targeted funding to ease pressures on the NHS this winter by paying for extra care packages and care home places for frail older people.

“Over the past 18 months, the NHS and councils have worked together to cut delayed discharges, freeing up four hospitals-worth of beds across England. This money will allow councils to build on that progress.”