Wigan's hospitals get £3m windfall to tackle waiting lists

Wigan’s hospitals are to get a £3m boost to help reduce waiting lists as they deal with the backlog caused by the pandemic.
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The Government has announced a £700m fund to support hospital trusts across the country, which includes £300m for upgrading NHS facilities, £250m for new technology and £120m for any supporting revenue costs.

The money, which will be split across all regions in England, will help to reduce waiting times for patients by expanding the number of operating theatres and beds, including new day surgery units to prevent people staying overnight and investment in technology to improve their experiences of care and help them manage their conditions.

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Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WWL), which runs sites including Wigan Infirmary and Wrightington Hospital, is set to receive more than £3m after six bids for funding were approved.

Wigan InfirmaryWigan Infirmary
Wigan Infirmary

It will get £1,992,000 of capital funding, £605,000 for digital projects and £438,000 of revenue funding.

The money will be used to support the trust’s emergency care department, elective recovery programme, virtual consultations and improve the discharge process for patients.

WWL chief executive Silas Nicholls welcomed the windfall, saying: “Improving and maintaining our services to the highest possible quality has to be our number one priority for our patients, and our recent investments illustrate our commitment to doing so. As we continue to manage the pressures of the pandemic and the usual increase in demand on our services at the time of year, we have taken positive action to support our front-line staff.

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“At a crucial time for the trust it is pleasing that the trust board has acted quickly to make these investments to support our amazing teams through these unprecedented times.

“Through successful applications to national funding and productive discussions with local commissioners, the board has invested in key service areas to keep our patients and staff safe.”

WWL also flagged up recent investments aimed at improving and speeding up services. They include: increasing staff in the emergency care department; opening five additional beds on Rainbow children’s ward; increasing intensive care unit bed numbers; £1.6m investment into Wrightington Hospital to improve facilities; and commissioning a third CT scanner to support the waiting list recovery programme.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Ahead of what is going to be a difficult winter, we’re putting everything behind our health and care services, so everyone can access the services they need, when they need them.

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“Our £700m investment will help more people get treated over the coming months by upgrading wards, operating theatres and diagnostic kit.”

Last week we reported that the number of people waiting to start treatment across England was at a record high, with the King’s Fund health think-tank warning the NHS was “on its knees”.

NHS England figures showed 35,256 patients were waiting for non-urgent elective operations or treatment in Wigan at the end of September, up from 33,708 at the end of August. This was also 28 per cent more than in September 2020, when there were 27,455 patients on the waiting list.

The funding announcement was made as the Government set out the key challenges facing the NHS and social care services this winter, including coronavirus and the potential threat of variants.

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The latest investment is part of £5.4bn already announced to support the NHS response to the pandemic. In total, the Government is investing more than £34bn of additional funding in health and social care services this year.

Action nationwide to prepare for the winter has included recruiting 18,000 more members of staff, securing new treatments for coronavirus and investing in support services, rehabilitation and reablement care following discharge from hospital.

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