Cash boost for home care to ease pressure

Wigan hospital - Inside the waiting room at Accident and Emergency
Wigan hospital - Inside the waiting room at Accident and Emergency

WIGAN Council will be handed a cash injection to help ease pressure on the borough’s NHS services, the government has said.

A £12m fund is to be distributed between 87 councils for social care provision aimed at helping patients leave hospitals earlier.

Wigan borough will receive a £120,000 share which will be spent in the next two months.

Deputy chief executive Paul McKevitt said the association of directors of adult services had been in discussion with the Government about ways of easing health-care pressures.

He told the Evening Post: “We have been notified we are due to receive a grant of £120,000 to support social care services in order to ease pressure on local hospitals.

“This must be spent by the end of March. We will then submit a report to ministers in late April indicating what the grant was used for and the impact of the grant.”

Wigan is one of many areas across the country which has suffered from “bedblocking” when patients no longer need hospital treatment but cannot leave because there is a lack of provision to look after them elsewhere.

Bosses at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Foundation Trust have said staff are working to ensure any such delays are kept to a minimum.

The Department for Communities and Local Government said the extra funds will aid local authorities to put in place carers and equipment to free up hospital beds.

Minister Eric Pickles MP said: “Social services have to be part of the solution to the high demand on hospitals at the moment. We know that they can help by getting people home more quickly when it is safe to do so once they have been discharged.

“And we also know that the best social care can prevent some people from having to go to A&E in the first place by supporting the elderly to live with dignity and independence at home.”

Mr McKevitt added Wigan had missed out on a share of a similar £25m payment from central government last year.