UK Government announces funding package to prepare NHS for winter

UK Government announces funding package to prepare NHS for winter
© iStock/Andrea Angelini

The UK Government has announced a funding package of £300m which will be allocated to 117 NHS Trusts to upgrade A&E facilities in time for winter.

In anticipation of a second wave of COVID-19 over the winter months, NHS Trusts across the UK will be allocated a portion of a £300m funding package to help upgrade emergency facilities. Hospitals could use the new funding to expand waiting areas and increase the number of treatment cubicles, helping them boost A&E capacity by providing additional space, reducing overcrowding, and improving infection control measures.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is also urging the public to feel confident about visiting A&E facilities as strict social distancing and hygiene measures remain in place to protect patients.

This funding forms part of an extra £1.5bn capital funding announced by the PM.

Improving NHS emergency facilities

The funding could also go towards the provision of same day emergency care and improve patient flow in the hospital to help the NHS respond to winter pressures and the risk from further outbreaks of COVID-19.

Projects will be completed by the start of next year to ensure hospitals benefit from the upgrades during the peak of winter.

Johnson said: “We continue to deliver on our promise to build back better and faster, with £300m allocated today for NHS trusts to upgrade their facilities and improve A&E capacity. These upgrades will help our fantastic NHS prepare for the winter months, helping them to deliver essential services and reduce the risk of coronavirus infections. Thanks to the hard work and tireless efforts of NHS staff throughout the pandemic, our A&Es have remained open for the public.

“It’s vital that those who need emergency treatment this winter access it, and for those who remain concerned about visiting hospitals, let me assure you that the NHS has measures in place to keep people safe.”

Last month, the PM confirmed an additional £3bn of funding to the NHS in England to get ready for winter. Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland will also receive additional funds which will allow the NHS to continue to use the extra hospital capacity acquired from the independent sector, maintain the Nightingale hospitals until the end of March, and expand their flu vaccination programme.

To further support A&Es this winter, anyone with a non-emergency care need is urged to contact 111 (online or by phone) or their GP first.

Health Minister Edward Argar said: “Our NHS did an amazing job to ensure emergency care continued to be available for everyone who needed it during the peak of this pandemic. Today, we are announcing the details of the Trusts across the country who will receive a share of £300 million to upgrade their A&Es and support emergency care to help them to continue to deliver safe and accessible services throughout the normally busy winter period.

“This funding is part of our record investment in NHS infrastructure to ensure our health services continue to meet the needs of the present and to be fit for future demands placed upon it.”

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