GWH misses out in £250m Government cash funding for emergency departments
THE Great Western Hospital will not receive a penny from a £250m Government fund to ease pressure on A&E departments this winter.
This week Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt outlined radical changes to improve care for vulnerable older people and alleviate pressure on A&E units.
Overall the number of people going to A&E departments in Britain has risen by 32 per cent in the past decade, and by one million each year since 2010.
This is why, to support the NHS in the short term, the Government has made an extra £500m funding available over the next two years.
However, despite making a bid for up to £4.2m, bosses at the GWH have been told they will not get a penny, while nearby Royal United Hospital NHS Trust in Bath will receive £4.4m and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust will be given £10.2m.
Alf Troughton, Medical Director and Deputy Chief Executive for the GWH, said they were very disappointed.
He said: “Although winter is generally our busiest time of year, demand for our services is high all year round, and this past 12 months has been our busiest ever.
“Last winter saw a 10 per cent increase in attendances to the Emergency Department, a 12 per cent increase in the number of day case patients and a 6.8 per cent increase in outpatients.
“Unfortunately, this coming winter already looks set to be just as busy, if not more so, and we have already experienced significant pressures.
“We have additional beds open and are working hard with GPs, social care and our partners in the community to prepare for the busy months ahead.”
The GWH’s bid for up to £4.2m of funding would have helped the local health economy plan and prepare for winter so the hospital could continue to provide high quality care to patients.
The funds would have also helped increase staffing in the Emergency Department, increase community support to keep people out of hospital in the first place, find additional beds for emergency patients and create more services overnight and at weekends.
Mr Troughton added: “We have started preparing for a busy and challenging winter without the additional funding some other trusts now have.
“We will be using the resources we have and our staff will work tirelessly to provide high quality care.”
South Swindon MP Robert Buckland raised the issue in Parliament on Tuesday.
He told the Adver: “Basically, the GWH is doing well and hasn’t fallen into a crisis like some hospitals have.
“The money is there for those hospitals that are not performing well and getting into a crisis.
“The GWH has worked hard to balance its books and do a good job. The money was never going to be for every hospital.
“Having said that, I have been working on this and I asked a question in Parliament this week and was given an assurance that should the GWH experience a particularly difficult winter, there is a contingency plan built into the budget and I would most certainly be prepared to go back and obtain any emergency funding.
“Rest assured I will continue to work with the hospital on this.”
But Anne Snelgrove, Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for South Swindon, said she has grave concerns about the GWH’s position as winter draws closer.
“I am extremely concerned.
“It is not a huge amount to be spread across the whole country but to find out that Swindon will be receiving absolutely nothing – a big fat zero – is shocking,” she said.
“I have only just been speaking with a nurse at the GWH who tells me they are already under a huge amount of pressure and we are not even in the winter yet.
“Waiting until we are under significant pressure before being proactive is not good enough.
“It will be too late by then. Swindon has lost out once again. We don’t seem to be winning anything at the moment.”
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How will the £250m be spent?
- Around £62m for extra consultant A&E cover at weekends
- Around £57m for community services
- Around £51m for improving the urgent care services
- Around £25m for primary care services – district nursing, care for patients in their home
- Around £16m for social care – integrating health and social care teams to help discharge elderly patients earlier and prevent readmission and;
- Around £9m to help the ambulance service and hospitals work better together.
- £15 million 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.
- Other trusts to benefit are:
- Brighton and Sussex £2.3m
- Dartford and Gravesham £4m
- East Sussex Healthcare £2.3m
- Hampshire Hospitals £3.3m
- Heatherwood and Wexham Park £6.6m
- Medway £6.1m
- North Bristol £5.9m
- Oxford University Hospitals £10.2m
- Plymouth Hospitals £5.5m
- Portsmouth Hospitals £1.4m
- Royal United Bath Hospitals £4.4m
- Weston Area £4.8m
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