Kettering General Hospital is to receive almost £4m to help it cope with extra winter pressures on A&E.
The funding was announced as Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt outlined changes across the country to improve care for vulnerable older people and alleviate pressure on A&E.
Alongside specific plans to support NHS A&E departments in the short-term this winter, the Health Secretary set out proposals to tackle increasing pressures on NHS A&E services in the long-term – starting with care for vulnerable older patients with complex health problems.
These changes refer to joined-up care – spanning GPs, social care, and A&E departments – overseen by a named GP.
Mr Hunt said the changes will reduce the need for repeated trips to A&E, and speed up diagnosis, treatment and discharge home again, when patients do need to go to hospital.
Overall, the number of people going to A&E departments in England has also risen by 32 per cent in the past decade, and by one million each year since 2010.
The over-65s represent 17 per cent of the population, but 68 per cent of NHS emergency bed use.
They also represent some of the NHS’s most vulnerable patients, and those most at risk from failures to provide seamless care.
To support the NHS in the short term, the Government has made an extra £500m of funding available over the next two years.
Today, the Health Secretary set out how £250m would be used by 53 NHS Trusts this winter.
Of the £250m about £62m will be used to provide additional capacity in hospitals – for example extra consultant A&E cover over the weekend so patients with complex needs will continue to get high-quality care.
And £15m of this money will also be spent on NHS 111 – to increase the number of clinicians and call handlers so that non-emergency visits to A&E can be avoided.
Flu also has a big impact on the NHS, with on average about 750,000 patients going to their GP with flu symptoms and 27,000 people admitted to hospital as a result of the disease each year.
Mr Hunt said: “This winter is going to be tough – that’s why the Government is acting now to make sure patients receive a great, safe service, even with the added pressures the cold weather brings.
“But this is a serious, long-term problem, which needs fundamental changes to equip our A&Es for the future.
“In the long term, I want a 24/7 service which recognises patients as individuals and looks out for them proactively.
“Starting with our most vulnerable, this Government is going to support the NHS in doing exactly that.”
Kettering General Hospital will receive a total of £3,919,000 to help it cope with additional pressures on A&E this winter.
Chief executive Lorene Read announced her resignation at the end of August amid missed accident and emergency targets.
Mrs Read, who had been in the post for almost two years, stood down after accepting ultimate responsibility for the hospital being unable to achieve consistently the national target for accident and emergency transit times.
The target is for 95 per cent of patients to be dealt with inside four hours.
However, between April and June the Kettering General Hospital Foundation Trust dealt with 85 per cent inside the target time.
Since July, that figure has increased to 93 per cent.
The most recent figures, for week ending September 1, saw 94.1 per cent of A&E patients dealt with within the four-hour target.
Kettering Hospital’s chairman, Graham Foster, said: “We very much welcome today’s Department of Health announcement regarding the provisional national allocation of £250m of winter pressures by the end of September to trusts that have particular A&E pressures.
“Kettering General Hospital’s bid for £3.9m of support is on the list of provisional allocations.
“The next step is for us to further develop our proposal with our local partner organisations before approaching NHS England with more detailed proposals for approval.
“The trust, and its local partners, have some great ideas for much needed improvements to the system of urgent care provision and once these are finalised and approved by all concerned we will aim to progress them at top speed.”