Extra NHS winter funding ‘doesn’t go far enough’

NHS Lothian spends �50m to treat patients outside of the area
NHS Lothian spends �50m to treat patients outside of the area
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Extra money made available for health services over the busy winter period “doesn’t go far enough”, a union has warned.

The Scottish Government announced a total of £5 million will be given to NHS boards to support winter resilience across health and social care. NHS Lothian will receive £737,835 from the additional funding.

A leading union has urged caution, believing more money is needed to help social care in the Edinburgh and Lothian area.

Unison Scotland committee chairman for health, Tom Waterson, said: “Obviously we welcome any extra funding to health over the winter period which is as usual, extremely busy for the health service.

“The extra funding doesn’t go far enough. There needs to be more money for social care and delayed discharge.

“We don’t believe it is enough for social care beds, which is a particular problem in Edinburgh.

“We do have much more patients coming through the door than normal over the winter period. The wards and the staff are extremely busy.”

NHS Lothian is pleased to receive the extra resources for the winter and is putting together a winter plan, which will be handed over to the Scottish Government.

Jim Forrest, chief officer of West Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “We welcome the additional funding and will use this to build on our winter plan from last year, which saw improvements in the resilience of both community and hospital services during the winter months.

“Our four health and social care partnerships and hospital teams are working together to ensure patients are treated in the most appropriate environment and we are currently implementing and finalising our winter plan which will soon be submitted to the Scottish Government.”

Health secretary Shona Robison announced the extra funding yesterday, which will go towards making sure patients are seen quickly. The Scottish Government also hopes the money will help maximise additional staffing to help with weekend discharges.

Ms Robison said: “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.

“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.”