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Plan unveiled for £4.2m ‘sticking plaster’ cash to help winter NHS pressures

PUBLISHED: 18:10 26 October 2018 | UPDATED: 18:44 26 October 2018

A line of ambulances waiting outside the A&E Department at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

A line of ambulances waiting outside the A&E Department at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

Plans on how to spend £4.2m to help with health and social care winter pressures in Norfolk - which was dubbed a ‘sticking plaster’ by a leading councillor - have been revealed.

Councillor Bill Borrett. Photo: Matthew UsherCouncillor Bill Borrett. Photo: Matthew Usher

It was announced last week that the county would receive the money as part of a £240m government fund to help get people back into their homes after stays in hospitals, to free up hospital beds across England.

The figure was the fourth highest amount nationally but Bill Borrett Conservative chairman of Norfolk County Council’s adult social care committee previously called the money a “sticking plaster” and said “a one-off payment it won’t help us invest for the long term and it won’t avoid the funding crisis we are facing”.

Now, the council has unveiled how it will use the cash, including:

• Spending £730,000 on measures to avoid unnecessary delays in hospitals for people with mental health difficulties, dementia or people who want to die at home, plus additional support for people returning home after discharge;

• £2.2m for additional reablement – support for people to regain their ability to live independently – plus more preventative work, to avoid hospital admissions;

• And £1.1m to bolster short-term capacity in the care market and to protect the adult social services budget, in the face of sustained pressures.

Mr Borrett said: “Norfolk County Council plays a critical role in ensuring the health and social care system runs as effectively as possible during winter and other periods of intense pressure.

“Our winter plan outlines our plans for this year, including improvements using the government’s investment.”

Last winter was widely considered one of the worst in the NHS’ history with wards full and ambulances queuing outside emergency departments.

This was, in part, put down to delayed transfers of care - a situation where a person is medically fit to leave hospital but cannot because the care for them at home, or a social care space, is not available.

Hospitals bosses have warned this winter could be even worse than last but there is a plan in place for Norfolk and Waveney to ensure the system copes as well as possible.

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