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Extra cash to help ease winter crisis in hospitals

PUBLISHED: 10:52 18 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:51 18 October 2018

Matt Hancock MP. Picture: Contributed

Matt Hancock MP. Picture: Contributed

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Councils in East Anglia have been given millions of pounds to help hospitals in the region cope with expected winter pressures.

Suffolk County Council is to get nearly £3.3m to enable its social services department to help patients get out of hospital quicker, re-ablement packages to help patients carry out everyday tasks and regain mobility and confidence, and home adaptations.

Essex is to get £5.9m for the same purpose. The grants are part of a £240m boost to help hospitals cope with winter pressures which was announced at the Conservative Party Conference earlier this month.

It follows what many described as the most challenging winter in the NHS’ history, with many health services struggling to cope from the additional pressure.

Health secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock said: “I am delighted that Suffolk is receiving £3,261,399 of funding to help social care services cope with winter pressures.

“This is part of our balanced approach to the economy – spending on key public services while keeping taxes down and getting debt falling.

“Social care packages allow people to leave hospital as soon as they are well enough, and ensure they can regain independence and confidence at home. This funding will allow Suffolk to meet the care needs of more local people this winter.”

This latest injection of funding to councils comes after the government provided extra funding to the NHS ahead of this winter.

In September, the NHS received up to £145million for hospitals across the country to boost winter resilience, which will go towards upgrading wards, redeveloping A&E departments, and pay for an extra 900 beds.

Beccy Hopfensperger, cabinet member for adult care at Suffolk County Council, said: “This additional funding is very welcome and we are grateful to Matt Hancock for his work in ensuring this has come to fruition.

“The pressures of Winter on our NHS and social services is very well documented and a great deal of planning is carried out to ensure we can cope with demand.

“Last winter was our busiest ever and, working with our colleagues in the NHS care services and voluntary organisations, we were able to support people get the right care in their own homes.

“Together we have been planning for this winter and this additional funding will help us to build on the brilliant work done by staff in all organisations to ensure more people and their carers get care in the right place.

“I have regular meetings with the Secretary of State in which I lobby for additional money for Suffolk. It is clear that social care is a priority for the minister and in particular how we work with our colleagues in health and the voluntary sector to provide care with the best outcome.

“We still have a long way to go to ensure we secure longer term solutions for health and social care, but this winter social care funding proves that lobbying central Government does work.”

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