latest health care news

12.12.17

Scotland will see ‘record high’ £22.4m NHS winter funding

NHS boards across Scotland are to receive an injection of £8.4m for resilience ahead of the busy festive period, the Scottish government has announced today.

The funding supports the implementation of Sir Lewis Ritchie’s report on public holiday working across health and social care, published yesterday.

The report, ‘Improving health and social care service resilience over public holidays,’ was supported by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM), the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) and the National Out of Hours Group.

It examined the existing availability of services across health and social care sectors during public holidays, and sought to address how services could be better coordinated to optimise patient experience.

Recommendations included in the report were well coordinated, multi-disciplinary urgent health and social care provision across the system; sufficient levels of senior decision makers rostered; provision of enhanced support for self-management by NHS 24, with sign-posting to services; and proactive discharge planning ahead of public holidays.

Over the past few months the emerging findings have been shared across the NHS and incorporated into winter planning.

The cash boost will bring winter spending on health and social care services across Scotland to a “record high” of £22.4m this year.

Shona Robinson, health secretary, said that NHS boards are so far “coping well” with this year’s winter pressures, acknowledging the hard work of staff across the health and social care sectors.

She added that boards have already made progress in implementing Sir Ritchie’s recommendations in their preparation for this winter, and that the report highlights that the Scottish government is on the right track in “prioritising service change at a local level.”

“Going forward I would expect partnership and professional organisations to be fully engaged in the design and delivery of all planned changes to services and the workforce,” she said.

Sir Lewis Ritchie explained: “Getting urgent and emergency care right is of paramount importance for the people of Scotland and for those who provide care for them.

“Significant progress is already underway - our report calls for further rapid and cohesive whole system action.

“We will need to do this with resolve to do this well, and to do this together.”

Vice-president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine Scotland, David Chung, thanked the government for attempting to moderate the effects that public holidays have on health and social care in Scotland.

He said: “This exercise has only been possible through the combined efforts of many collaborating to provide guidance for the system, and we are grateful to everyone for engaging and giving their time and expertise to this issue.

“We hope it will be one of many such collaborative efforts to provide the best health and social care for Scotland in times to come.”

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