It’s been a mild November to date with little more than a couple of torrential downpours and a shortening of the days to remind us winter is on its way.
Unfortunately, in addition to the tumult of the festive season, the winter months bring a host of coughs, colds, falls and ‘flu, and pressure on the health service has become a regular problem. Part of the pressure is caused by patients who, although they are well enough to leave hospital, need support at home to get over the illness or injury. If this support cannot be put in place in a timely way, they end up having to stay far longer than necessary in hospital.
This year the Government has been able to offer local authorities £240 million in additional funding to ease pressure over winter, including £5,919,494 for Essex County Council. This funding will give the council a significant boost to prevent people from going into hospital unnecessarily, and to get them home as soon as they are ready.
The money will pay for home care packages to help patients get out of hospital quicker, reablement packages to help patients carry out everyday tasks and regain mobility and confidence, and home adaptations.
In addition, the NHS has been given £145 million to improve emergency care ahead of winter. The funding is being spent on 81 new schemes to upgrade wards, redevelop A&E departments, improve same-day emergency care, and improve systems for managing the number of beds in use.
This is all part of this Government’s colossal additional investment in the health service which will see the NHS’s budget increase by an extra £20bn per year by 2023/24.