Rear-view shot of an NHS ambulance driving in the snow depicting the Scottish Government's health and social care plan for winter

Scottish Govt launches winter preparedness plan for health and social care

An extra £50m to build NHS recruitment capacity and another £12m to expand Scotland’s virtual ward offering have been announced as part of the Scottish Government’s health and social care winter plan.

The plan, which has been published in partnership with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), sets out a number of measures to ensure the NHS is prepared for the festive period.

The measures include a £50m funding boost for the Scottish Ambulance Service to recruit a further 317 frontline staff to bolster capacity.

The funding will also see 18 additional clinicians operating through the call centre hub which offers patients who are not time-critical different treatment routes, ultimately reducing hospital admissions.

A further £12m will benefit the hospital at home service too, with at least 380 additional beds set to be delivered this winter.

Michael Matheson, the Scottish health secretary, said: “We are in no doubt that this winter will be extremely challenging for our health and social care system. Our Winter plan builds on the lessons we have learned from previous years and preparations have been on-going since spring.

“Our whole system approach is based on ensuring people can access the care that is right for them – at the right time and in the right place.”

COSLA’s spokesperson for health and social care, Councillor Paul Kelly, added: “As key partners in ensuring people and communities are safe and cared for over the winter period, and indeed throughout the year, local authorities have a vital role in enabling people to continue to safely access the care and support they need when they need it.

He continued: “We expect the winter to be a very challenging period across the whole health and social care system at a time when the system is already experiencing significant demand pressures and challenges with recruitment and retention.”

To access the full winter preparedness plan, click here.

Image credit: iStock

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