An extra £5 million to help NHS boards cope with the pressure winter puts on health and social care services has been announced by the Scottish Government.
Speaking at Kirkcaldy’s Victoria Hospital on Thursday, health secretary Shona Robison said the additional funding would support winter planning and enhance resilience across services, and would ensure that patients are seen quickly, efficiently and without delay.
The cash will also be used to maximise additional staffing to help with weekend discharges in the face of an anticipated rise in attendances during the busy winter months.
NHS Tayside will receive an extra £392,305, while NHS Fife will benefit from £340,148, building on the £9 million already being invested to improve A&E performance and £50 million support to improve the country’s waiting times performance.
“We are working hard to ensure our NHS is as prepared as it can be for the extra demands on services over the winter, which is why we are working closely with health and social care services to ensure they have the right plans in place,” Ms Robison said.
“Scotland is well-prepared to head in to winter.
“We have the best A&E performance anywhere in the UK. However, there is no room for complacency and this additional £5 million funding will give an extra boost to health boards’ and their partners’ winter planning.
“We’ll also continue to provide national support to our hospitals in implementing best practice across the country, so that all patients get the same excellent NHS care no matter where they live or the time of year.”
NHS Fife chair Tricia Marwick welcomed the funding announcement, suggesting that the winter months always put particular strain on the NHS.
She explained: “Patients admitted at this time of year tend to stay in hospital for longer and NHS staff are continually looking at ways to ensure more of our patients receive the right care at the right time and by the right professional – whether this is out in the community or in a hospital setting.
“Our winter planning helps ensure we continue to be able to do this during busier periods.
“The public can also help out and they have a big part to play in helping our hospitals run smoothly over winter.
“There are minor injuries services across Fife equipped to deal with injuries such as cuts, wounds, burns, strains and sprains, and we urge people to use these services instead of putting additional pressure on our emergency department.”
Those comments were echoed by Michael Kellet, Fife’s health and social care partnership director, who added: “Staff in the health and social care partnership and NHS Fife are working hard together to do all we can support the public over the winter.
“We’ve invested in innovative models of care to keep people living safe and well at home, but if they do need hospital care we work with them so they can get back home again as soon as possible.
“As part our winter campaign in Fife we’ll be encouraging the public to get prepared, protect themselves against colds and flu and help them understand where they should best get support if they need it.”