NHS taking steps to cope with winter care

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The NHS in Scotland is adopting “innovative approaches” to dealing with the pressures of the busy winter period, Health Secretary Alex Neil said today.

He said the Scottish Government had taken steps to improve emergency care since last winter with a total of £50 million allocated to a care action plan over the next three years, of which £9m has already been given to health boards. That is triple the amount given to boards for winter planning last year.

The money is being used to recruit additional staff, including extra A&E consultants, and for measures to improve the flow of patients through hospitals. NHS 24 is also introducing a new triage service and access to physiotherapy assessment by phone.

Mr Neil said: “Innovative approaches that have been put in place are already working well. However, I am not complacent. Each winter brings additional pressures for the health service, but I hope these changes will help to ensure our health service is prepared for winter.”