Member of the Senedd for Clwyd South Ken Skates has welcomed an additional £42m in funding for social care amid the warning from the Chief Executive of the Welsh NHS that this winter will be ‘one of the hardest we have ever faced’.
As the health service faces the dual challenge of the Coronavirus pandemic and other respiratory viruses, and in recognition of the challenges faced across the health and social care system, the Welsh Labour Government has announced that there will be an extra £42m in funding for social care – on top of £248m already announced for the NHS Covid recovery fund.
The social care investment will be used to improve hospital patient discharges, expand community services, and reduce hospital re-admissions among the frail and vulnerable in an effort to ease pressures on bed capacity.
Mr Skates said: “The pandemic has put the social care system under significant pressure over the last 18 months, so I’m really pleased that our Welsh Labour Government is once again investing to enable people to access the right care at home.”
The NHS Wales Health and Social Care Winter Plan has also been published, and will help ensure emergency care is able to cope and minimise disruption to planned care.
Key priorities in the Winter Plan include:
• Protecting people from Covid-19 through the vaccination programme
• Keeping people well during higher levels of flu and seasonal respiratory viruses
• Maintaining the resilience of health and social care services
• Responding to the mental health impact of the pandemic
• Ensuring vulnerable groups have access to the treatment they require
• Supporting the health and wellbeing of staff who have worked tirelessly during the pandemic
• Working with health and social care organisations to manage pressures across the system.
Mr Skates added: “Winter is always a challenging time for our NHS, not just in Wales but right across the United Kingdom, and this year is no exception. The demands on the health and social care system have never been greater than during this pandemic period.
“I’m glad that the Minister for Health and Social Services, Eluned Morgan, has confirmed that our NHS will continue to deliver essential services and that they are doing all they can to ensure planned care continues through this difficult period.
“We all have a part to play too, and I would encourage people in Clwyd South and across North Wales to get their Covid and flu jabs.”
The Winter Plan comes after months of planning and significant investment in health and social care by the Welsh Labour Government to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.
More than £248m has already been invested through the NHS recovery fund to help health boards tackle waiting times and transform the way they deliver services.
Much of the funding will help services this winter, like non-urgent patient transport, which will help ease pressure on ambulance services and ensure patients can access the care they need.