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A&Es to get extra beds this winter, says Hunt

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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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Readers' comments (1)

  • Well nothing seems to be in place in my Trust, as an ENP and former employee at my local A&E Dept, I enquired and they have no vacancies or nothing on the horizon.

    I still have to travel 40 miles each way every day due to Government cut cut cut as walk in centres and minor injury units are being slashed. These can help cut attendances at A&E and are referred to by ambulance services, GP's and 111 alike.

    I suppose they will get funding for an extra bed that will give the impression that people are being seen within the stupid target times.

    That way people who don't need to be in A&E and the worried well will be placated come election time.

    Its about time that the government instead spent money on public information on tv and the media telling people they do not need to attend A&E for long standing minor problems, or as a convenience as they are working all week and suddenly feel that they need to be seen in the evening or at the weekend. And also educated to what an actual "accident" or "emergency" is.

    I have followed up with GP's on countless occasions with people moaning about not being able to see their GP, and often they have not even tried as it is just not convenient. Missed appointments could fund more GP's.

    And appropriate use of A&E and proper triage by an experienced clinician would cut the attendances of A&E instead of people hanging around in waiting rooms moaning that they have to wait for their 3 week old injury to be assessed as they "may need an XR."

    Or is it about money? Every time someone books into A&E it costs the local primary care trust in the region of £55.00, depending on locality, whether or not they stay and even see the triage nurse. Just booking in and kerrrrching! A&E has more money! It is not in their interests to turn people who don't need to be there away at the door! Just think what primary care could be offered with this money??

    Providing another bed in A&E will just give yet another bed for someone to lay more comfortably on rather than sit in the waiting room, and more scope for the relatives to hover and moan that they have been there 'ages.'

    Money would be better spent on social care for the elderly in the community (which was cut by this awful government) to stem admissions through A&E; keeping walk in services open for the worried well; and generally getting the public to get a grip and stop attending for such minor things it is difficult to find anything wrong with them, and using urgent care services as a convenience.

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