Extra funding for winter pressures
As the nights draw in and we all start to plan for Christmas it’s easy to forget that winter time can be difficult for older people and people with health conditions. The NHS frontline is always under considerable pressure during this period as demand for services tends to increase significantly with the onset of cold weather and flu.
This all has a knock-on impact on our adult social care services as more people need help and support when returning home from a hospital stay. We also have a range of preventative services which support local residents at risk of a hospital stay by making sure they remain as independent as possible. This can be about reducing social isolation as loneliness has been proven to have a huge negative impact on health.
We were delighted to hear in the Chancellor’s budget speech last month that councils will be getting a share of an extra £240m of temporary funding to support winter pressures, which equates to £3.5m for Nottinghamshire. This is significantly more than the extra £400,000 we received from Government last year to support this crucial work.
We’ve come up with a raft of plans to make sure we have the staff and care available for people leaving hospital and those at risk of a hospital stay during this critical period. This includes recruiting an extra 64 social care staff up until the end of March.
We’re also investing an additional £500,000 on our highly rated Home First Response Service which provides support for up to 14 days for people leaving hospital or at risk of a hospital stay, and £100,000 on more social workers to help with the discharge of mental health hospital patients.
Nationally, there are continued signs of improvement in the discharge of patients over the winter period. There were 140,000 delayed days recorded in February, compared with 186,000 in February 2017, which represents a 25 percent decrease.
I’m particularly proud of the excellent work carried out by our social care teams to help with the discharge of local people from our hospitals. We are in the top 10 percent of authorities in the country for minimising hospital discharge delays caused by social care availability since April this year.
This extra Government funding will help maintain this excellent performance during the busy winter period for the benefit of local residents.
Councillor Stuart Wallace
Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Adult Social Care and Public Health Committee
Councillor Stuart Wallace Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Adult Social Care and Public Health Committee