A&Es to get extra beds this winter, says Hunt
The government’s £250m cash injection for A&E this winter will be spent on more than 2,000 extra beds and extra staff, Jeremy Hunt has said.
The health secretary said “winter is tough” but that the extra resources will make sure patients “get the excellent care they expect, no matter what season it is”.
Almost 2,500 extra beds will be made available across England as a result of the funding, information from hospital trusts shows.
The equivalent of almost 3,000 extra staff will be brought in to help the NHS cope with winter pressures, the Department of Health said. This consists of temporary staff, extending the hours of existing staff and creating new positions.
The majority of the funding was distributed earlier this year to 53 areas where hospitals were identified as being under the most pressure.
The Department of Health said the extra staff is the equivalent of up to 320 extra doctors and 1,400 extra nurses, as well as up to 1,200 other NHS staff including physiotherapists and occupational therapists.
A further £150m was announced by NHS England last week to help other health trusts cope with the cold weather.
Mr Hunt said: “The NHS is performing well and more than 95% of patients are being seen in our A&E departments in under four hours. However, we know that cold weather affects our health and has an impact on the NHS every year.
“This year will be no different. That’s why we have prepared earlier than ever before by supporting the NHS with a £250m fund that has been used to hire more doctors and nurses, and provide more beds.
“We’re backing our hard-working NHS staff with the extra doctors, nurses and beds they need to make sure patients get the excellent care they expect, no matter what season it is.
“Winter is tough, but the NHS has never been better prepared.”
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