Norfolk hospitals get £6m to cope with winter pressures

Norfolk's three hospitals will receive a government boost to improve its A&E capacity this winter. P

Norfolk's three hospitals will receive a government boost to improve its A&E capacity this winter. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Norfolk hospitals will receive nearly £6m in funding to upgrade accident and emergency capacity to ease winter pressure.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital will receive £1.89m, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn £1.9m, and the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston will receive the highest share with £2.2m of the government’s £300m.

The East of England received £28.8m in funding between 12 NHS trusts.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced £300m would be split across 117 trusts to increase their A&E capacity through building more treatment cubicles or expanding their waiting areas.

At the NNUH the funding will be used to expand the emergency department and other projects this winter include the expansion of the frailty service, same day emergency care, and the early supportive discharge scheme for orthopaedics

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Cursty Pepper, emergency and urgent care performance and recovery operations director, said: “Planning is well underway to ensure the Trust is well prepared for the challenges that winter will bring.

“We have been planning since November last year and there are a number of projects well underway to help manage the usual demands we usually face over winter and with the likelihood of Covid-19 still circulating in the community

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“This is an exciting project that will help expand GP streaming at the hospital and work towards the formation of an Urgent Treatment Centre at NNUH, as well as reduce emergency department footfall and redirect people to the best service for their needs as appropriate. We are also working on plans to introduce rapid point of care Covid-19 testing at the front doors.”

Mr Johnson said the additional cash would enable hospitals to maintain essential services and reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection during the coming months.

The funding comes from a £1.5bn capital building allocation for the NHS set out by Mr Johnson in June.

More: Norfolk hospitals go more than a month without new coronavirus deathsMr Johnson said: “We continue to deliver on our promise to build back better and faster, with £300m allocated today for NHS trusts to upgrade their facilities and improve A&E capacity.

“These upgrades will help our fantastic NHS prepare for the winter months, helping them to deliver essential services and reduce the risk of coronavirus infections.”

Hospitals may be able to use the money to increase its same-day emergency care provision and patient flows to help them to better respond to winter pressures and the risks of fresh coronavirus outbreak.

Any building projects will be completed by the start of 2021, the government said.

It comes on top of a £3bn cash injection for the NHS in England announced last month to help it to cope with the expected winter pressures.Mr Johnson said it was essential that people who needed emergency treatment during the winter should attend hospital, confident that they would not become infected with the virus.He said: “It’s vital that those who need emergency treatment this winter access it, and for those who remain concerned about visiting hospitals, let me assure you that the NHS has measures in place to keep people safe.”Norfolk’s three main hospitals have been contacted for comment.

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