Millions of pounds are being invested in Northamptonshire’s health services to help cope with winter pressures.
The Government’s Department of Health will pump an extra £3m into the county’s health system to help deal with the extremely busy period.
NHS Northamptonshire, Nene Commissioning, Corby Healthcare and Northamptonshire County Council are working with the department to ensure the money is put to good use – but people are still being asked to stay away from A&E.
Dr Darin Seiger, chairman of Nene Commissioning, said: “We welcome this additional funding, which will assist us in our goal of ensuring patients receive the best possible care in the most appropriate setting.
“There have been enormous pressures on the whole health system in Northamptonshire this winter, in common with the rest of the NHS, and it will take time to solve these issues, but this funding will help.”
Problems seen in the county this winter have included delays in patients being handed to hospitals by ambulance crews, a lack of accommodation for patients once they are discharged from hospital, an increase in admissions and an increasing elderly or vulnerable population.
In response, a number of schemes totalling £1.4m have been agreed by the county’s clinical commissioning groups and NHS Northamptonshire.
These include additional ambulance crews to help ensure 999 calls are responded to without delay, £130,000 to fund two additional consultants to assist at Kettering General Hospital and £250,000 for more doctors and nurses at Northampton General Hospital’s A&E department.
The Department of Health has also made £1.7m available for the county’s councils to invest in social care services to benefit health.
This will support existing services aimed at improving support for patients once they are discharged from hospital, helping to avoid readmissions. But, despite the extra investment, people are still being asked to consider the alternatives before going to hospital in a bid to reduce pressure on services.
Dr Pete Wilczynski, interim chairman of Corby Healthcare, said: “We will continue to urge local people to ‘choose well’ when accessing local services.”