£9m commitment to emergency care

Posted On: 21st September 2016

Health boards across Scotland are sharing an additional £9 million this year for emergency departments, hospitals and primary and social care teams to get ready for winter. hospital_4666358Med

The funding supports dedicated multi-disciplinary teams to improve patient flow in A&E, across the hospital and in the community.

By enhancing staffing cover over winter, providing the same level of discharging at weekends as midweek or providing treatment in the community, patients will get the best care in the most appropriate place, preventing unnecessary hospital admissions and freeing up beds and resources for those who need them most.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon highlighted the funding during a visit to the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) unit at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (RIE). Respiratory illness is a key diagnosis in three of the top five A&E cases, accounting for 45,000 emergency bed days every year. Since 2013, the COPD unit at RIE has worked collaboratively to reduce the level of admissions and free up nearly 3,000 bed days.

A recently published review of last winter shows that, despite increased admissions across Scotland, A&E waiting times improved significantly and the number of people delayed from leaving hospital was reduced.

Nicola Sturgeon said:

“A&E attendances last winter increased, yet emergency departments consistently improved their performance. This is testament to the immensely hard work and dedication of our NHS staff and follows a three year, £50 million unscheduled care fund which supported boards to make changes.

The additional £9 million for this year will ensure patients get the best treatment in the most appropriate place, easing pressure on our A&E departments and maximising patient flows within hospitals which face additional admission demands in winter.

The approach taken here at the RIE to target respiratory illness – which is the most common factor in A&E presentations in winter – has freed up 3,000 emergency bed days and demonstrates the value of successful working across the health and social care system.

With more and more people now living with long term conditions, and a growing number of older people with multiple and complex conditions, it is also vital that the NHS has robust preventative care plans. Winter guidance was issued to boards in August and health boards are now well advanced in their unscheduled care planning – putting them on the front foot to build on last year’s good performance and deal with additional pressures throughout the coming winter.”

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