Funding of at least £8 million for additional care home beds and efforts to boost NHS 24 capacity are among the measures outlined by Health Secretary Humza Yousaf today to help the NHS and social care deal with ongoing extreme winter pressures.
Health and Social Care Partnerships will procure around 300 additional care home beds to help alleviate pressures caused by delayed discharge. The funding will allow boards to pay 25% over and above the National Care Home rate for beds. This is in addition to around 600 interim care beds already in operation across Scotland.
NHS 24 is taking forward plans to recruit around 200 new starts before the end of March. In the run up to Christmas NHS 24 had already recruited over 40 whole time equivalent call operators, call handlers and clinical supervisors.
Guidance has been issued to all health boards making it clear they can take necessary steps to protect critical and life-saving care.
Mr Yousaf said:
“This is the most challenging winter the NHS in Scotland has ever faced, and immediate pressures will continue for the coming weeks. My thanks to all health and social care staff for their incredible efforts during these exceptionally challenging times.
“We are ensuring all possible actions are being taken to support services, and the additional measures I have outlined today will help relieve some of the extreme pressure Health Boards are facing. We know one of the most significant issues our NHS is facing is delayed discharge, that is why I have announced further support to buy additional capacity in the care sector."
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“NHS 24 has a vital role in referring people to appropriate urgent care services outside of hospitals and plans to increase staff numbers over the course of winter. This will help the service deal with increases in demand.
“Emergency care will always be there for those who need it, but for many people, the best advice and support might be available on the NHS Inform website or the NHS 24 App, or by calling NHS 24 on 111.
“I encourage people to make use of these services as many are already doing.”