Minister spells out health service winter plans

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Health Minister Robin Swann has updated the Assembly on the pressures facing health and social care services this winter and the planning being undertaken in preparation.

The Minister issued a Written Ministerial Statement, accompanying the publication of Health Trusts’ integrated winter and surge delivery plans and Trust activity projections.

He told MLAs the Health and Social Care System is “most likely facing into the most difficult winter ever experienced”, adding: “Over this summer and into the autumn, the Northern Ireland hospital system has consistently been operating above capacity, with many patients waiting on trollies for admission. This situation is unheard of during the summer months and is an indication of the scale of unscheduled pressures likely facing the HSC system this winter.”

The statement to the Assembly sets out a wide range of measures to support the HSC system through this winter. It also highlights additional funding committed by the Minister.

This includes:

  • £16.5 million in-year funding to support the No More Silos initiative to reduce pressures on urgent and emergency care, taking the total funding to £21.2 million this financial year;
  • £31.5 million to support elective care already secured through June Monitoring and an additional £30 million bid tabled in the October Monitoring round;
  • £12 million in-year funding to further support our social care sector.

These funding allocations are in addition to Covid-related funding sought through in year monitoring and the £5.5 million in-year and funding announced last week to support GP services this winter.

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