Wigan's health services get £2.7m boost to ease winter pressures

Weekend consultant cover at Wigan Infirmary will be extended
Weekend consultant cover at Wigan Infirmary will be extended

More than £2.7m is being ploughed into the health system to ensure it will be able to cope with winter demand.

The Health and Wellbeing Board heard the winter resilience allocation for the coldest months of 2019-20 will be £2,773,000.

Health organisations submitted more than 30 ideas for helping the health system cope with winter, with 14 being approved for investment.

The priorities for the borough will be supporting the targets that people should be seen within four hours at hospital, ensuring care is safe and effective, making sure patients have a good experience of the health system and demonstrating resilience under pressure.

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh (WWL) NHS Foundation Trust has had eight schemes approved, while Wigan Council had one, the North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust two and primary care providers one.

A joint scheme involving the hospital and the council was also approved, as was a three-part proposal involving the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) as well.

Under the proposals:

The hospital will extend consultant cover at weekends, work with ambulance handover teams and put into place Operation Connect with the police.

More social care officers will also be working at weekends in winter.

GPs will make more winter appointments available.

Money will be ploughed into supporting mental health assessment teams at the North West Boroughs.

Other areas being invested in include ensuring there are escalation beds on Highfield ward at Wigan Infirmary and using private patient transport.

A total of £43,283 will also be spent on a joint programme to increase the numbers of people being treated in locations other than A&E and ensuring only severe emergencies go to hospital.

Beds in community health facilities will also be made available for emergencies up until March 2020 in a scheme funded from a separate pot.

Homeless organisation The Brick’s Hospital to Home service, which has been running for the past two winters, will also be funded again.

The report shown to the board also says there is still a £268,575 contingency fund for supporting any other local or Greater Manchester schemes which could help the health system cope with its busiest time of year.

Dr Tim Dalton, local GP and chairman of NHS Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Every year we identify a number of essential services that would benefit from extra funding or staff over winter.

“To get the funding, the services must show how they will help reduce pressure on A&E and how they will improve patient experience, amongst other criteria.

“Paediatric services, mental health services and GP appointments will all offer extra capacity this year as a result of these investments.

“Through the Healthier Wigan Partnership, with the council and all NHS organisations, we will be looking at how we can make services resilient all year round.”