The Scottish Government has announced that it is to inject additional funding into the NHS, to ensure that the service continues providing effective care through increasing winter pressure.
Additional funding of £8 million is to be shared by Health and Social Care Partnerships, with aim of procuring around 300 additional care home beds. This is expected to help alleviate the pressures that are caused by delayed discharge, as well as some of the funding also going towards allowing boards to pay 25% over the National Care Home rate for beds.
There are also currently around 600 interim care beds that are in use across Scotland.
Humza Yousaf, Scottish Health Secretary, said:
“This is the most challenging winter the NHS in Scotland has ever faced and the immediate pressure will continue for the coming weeks. My thanks to all health and social care staff for their incredible efforts during these exceptionally challenging times.
“We are ensuring all possible actions are being taken to support services, and the additional measures I have outlined today will help relieve some of the extreme pressure Health Boards are facing. We know one of the most significant issues our NHS is facing is delayed discharge, that is why I have announced further support to buy additional capacity in the care sector.
“NHS 24 has a vital role in referring people to appropriate urgent care services outside of hospitals and plans to increase staff numbers over the course off winter, will help the service deal with increases in demand.
Emergency care will always be there for those who need it, but for many people, the best advice and support might be available on the NHS Inform website or the NHS 24 App, or by calling NHS 24, so I would encourage people to make use of these services as many are already doing.”
There are forward plans in place for NHS 24 to recruit around 200 new starters before the end of March to help alleviate ant staffing issues, alongside the more than 40 call operators, handlers and clinical supervisors that were hired by NHS 24 in the run up to Christmas.
All Boards have been issued guidance to ensure that they know they are able to take any necessary steps to protect critical and life-saving care.