A further £150 million will be distributed around England to help hospitals maintain their A&E services over winter.
This is in addition to the £250 million targeted to the most at-risk areas in September. The distribution of the extra £150 million will include those communities that are not deemed the most at-risk, to bolster and enhance their existing plans to maintain services and reduce the pressure on A&Es caused by cold weather.
The additional money will come from NHS England’s expected surplus for the current financial year. It will be distributed among local communities based on the number of people they serve.
The money will be paid as an additional allocation to 157 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), the GP-led groups now responsible for the planning and purchasing of most hospital and community services in their own local areas.
Decisions on how the money will be spent will be taken by Urgent Care Working Groups – the new collaborative groups of hospital, community and primary care clinicians responsible for ensuring A&E services meet four-hour standards and provide high-quality care.
As with the funding announced by the Department of Health in September, health services can use this additional money to improve other services away from A&E to reduce unnecessary visits and avoidable emergency admissions, as well as boosting individual A&E departments.
Local initiatives could include:
- minimising A&E attendances and hospital admissions from care homes by appointing specialists in charge of joining up services for the elderly
- improved access to out-of-hours social work, increased hours at walk-in centres, increased intermediate care beds and extension to pharmacy services to ease pressures on A&E departments
- consultant reviews of all ambulance arrivals in A&E so that a senior level decision is taken on what care is needed at the earliest opportunity
- Further information on winter pressures funding
Details of the CCG allocations will be available on the NHS England website shortly.