Winter pressures across NHS Scotland will be tackled through an investment of £10 million. This will help reduce hospital attendances, where possible, by managing care closer to home for those with long-term conditions and minor injuries, with a focus on better use of community pharmacies and more support to direct people to the best service for their needs. The funding, which has been allocated to health boards, is in addition to the £6.3 million previously allocated for unscheduled care. It matches last winter’s investment and will help ensure there are appropriate levels of staffing in place across the whole system so patients are cared for at the right place at the right time and as close to home as possible.
But in England:
For most of this decade the NHS has been dependent on extra funding to get through winter. This funding, usually released late in the year as winter approached, was used to open and staff extra hospital wards; buy additional care home-bed capacity for patients in hospital; and extend GP opening hours. But the announcement of a general election and subsequent cancellation of the Autumn Budget 2019 means the NHS will be heading into winter without any extra government funding for the first time in recent memory.
The NHS is heading into winter in unusually bad shape Less than two years ago the then Prime Minister, Theresa May, said the NHS was heading into winter better prepared than ever before. That claim is unlikely to be made this year. The NHS has not seen the usual improvement in waiting time performance it usually experiences over summer, with performance getting worse since last year. So it heads into winter with A&E performance at its worst level since current records began, 4.6 million people on hospital waiting lists and with 100,000 vacant staff posts.