£45m of new investment for Welsh NHS to deal with winter pressures

Posted On: 10th February 2016

The NHS in Wales will receive an extra £45m of new investment to help it respond to winter pressures, the Welsh Government announced.Government Opportunities

The money for this financial year will come from Welsh Government reserves and will help health boards across Wales treat and care for the increase in people using services at this time of year. During the first week of January alone, the health service experienced a significant surge in demand for urgent and emergency care services above and beyond that experienced in the same period of 2015.

The Welsh Ambulance Service has also experienced a sharp rise in the most critically-ill patients using its services; hospital emergency departments across Wales have reported an increase in admissions of patients, particularly older people, with acute conditions and complex needs and out-of-hour services have experienced extremely busy evenings and weekends since the start of the year.

The latest information shows:

  • There has been an increase in emergency ambulances arriving at A&E departments since the turn of the year – at their peak, they were 22% higher than the January 2015 average
  • A&E attendances have been up to 23% higher than the January 2015 average
  • Calls to NHS Direct Wales peaked at 2,300 on one day over the Christmas period – the service typically answers around 580 calls per day.

Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford said:

“Much like other parts of the UK, urgent and emergency care services in Wales have experienced periods of significant pressure and demand since the start of the year. There has been a sharp rise in the number of people seeking treatment and care at emergency departments and a peak in ambulance arrivals at hospitals throughout Wales.

Despite this, our NHS staff are working hard to continue to provide safe and effective services – all emergency departments are open and hospitals are continuing to provide a routine surgical service. This extra £45m of new funding will help our health service continue to deal with the significant increase in the pressures which it is facing and manage this surge in demand without any knock-on effects on other parts of the service.

I would like to thank staff throughout Wales who have worked tirelessly this winter to ensure people have received the treatment, care and support they needed when they have been ill or injured. We will continue to work closely with health boards and NHS trusts to make sure patients have access to the best care possible.

This new investment once again shows our commitment to the Welsh NHS. We are protecting funding for the health service and for social care despite record-breaking cuts to our budget. Funding is now at record levels, with £6.7bn being spent on health and social services this year, growing to £7bn the next financial year.”

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