Government Names 27 Hospitals Set to Share £21 Million

The government has identified the 27 hospitals who will benefit from £21 million in new funding.

This money is intended to support new triage, streaming and co-located GP services alongside their emergency departments, in an attempt to relieve the pressure on A&E.

The £21 million figure follows close on the back of £56 million in funding being provided to 70 hospital trusts in April this year.

This £56 million payment also came under the £100 million pound program that was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the March budget.

While the additional funding will undoubtedly be welcome, in the existing NHS climate there is no doubt that it is a mere drop in the ocean.

Indeed, it has only been revealed recently that over 200 additional GPs will be required in order to start the programme demanded by ministers and NHS England.

This will be required in order to divert minor cases away from Accident and Emergency, thus reducing the pressure on the stretched emergency services.

It is notable that even in a mild winter the system faced serious difficulties last year.

The general consensus of opinion is that in particularly harsh winter conditions the NHS would seriously struggle to cope.

Speaking to the NHS Confederation conference in Liverpool, the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt stated that all of the £100 million capital funding should be allocated this summer so that changes could be made before the winter.

Trusts receiving payments have already indicated that the majority will be invested in premise alterations and development.

There are also plan to construct new facilities such as consultation rooms and reception areas, while investment in IT systems in order to support key services will also be prominent.

Yet GP leaders have opposed to the scheme, suggesting that it could be more appropriately invested in existing GP services.

GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey was particularly critical of the scheme, and outlined the way he believes the money should instead be invested.

“Rather than spending £100m on taking GPs out of the community and setting up a service that will simply attract even more patients to unnecessarily attend A&E the government should be investing in general practice where that much needed additional funding could be far better spent.”

But the health secretary was positive about the potential of the £100 million initiative, outlining the ethos behind it in a statement.

“The NHS prepares well in advance for winter each year, but despite the hard work and dedication of staff, demand on services continues to increase as a result of our ageing population. This vital investment will help hospitals change the way they assess and see patients so people are given the most appropriate medical care as quickly as possible.”

 

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