Norfolk to get £4.2m to ease the pressure on hospitals this winter

Health and social care secretary Matthew Hancock. Pic: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

Health and social care secretary Matthew Hancock. Pic: Nick Ansell/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Norfolk is to get almost £4.2m to help alleviate winter pressures on the region's hospitals - the fourth highest amount across the country.

The extra government cash is part of a £240m fund aimed at helping get people back into their homes after stays in hospitals, to free up hospital beds across England.

Norfolk County Council has been awarded £4.12m, behind only Birmingham, Lancashire and Yorkshire, with the East of England receiving £24.3m in total. Suffolk has been awarded just under £3.3m.

Matt Hancock, health and social care secretary, who represents West Suffolk, said: 'I want to help the NHS through this winter. I have already provided funding for hospitals to make upgrades to their buildings to deal with pressures this winter and I am making an extra £240m available to councils to pay for social care packages this winter to support our NHS.

'We will use this money to help people who don't need to be in hospital, but do need care, to get back home, into their communities, so we can then free up those vital hospital beds, and help more people get the hospital care they need.'

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The government announced the extra cash at the Conservative party conference earlier this month, but at that point the exact amount each authority would get was not known.

Bill Borrett, Conservative chairman of Norfolk County Council's adult social care committee, said: 'I certainly welcome this extra money as it will help us provide more services this winter, like reablement and home care. These already help to free up hospital beds more quickly - as well as supporting more Norfolk residents to live independently in their own homes, which is what they tell us they want.

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'But, as a one-off payment it won't help us invest for the long term and it won't avoid the funding crisis we are facing. That's why I'm eagerly awaiting the government's green paper, expected by the end of the year, and will be looking for it to provide a sustainable long term funding solution for adult social care which is what the residents of Norfolk expect and deserve.'

Adult social services already has to make £27m of savings between 2019 and the end of 2022 and the committee agreed earlier this month that £11.9m more must be saved.

Council officers have been working on a strategy to save money by reducing demand on services, through early intervention and by shifting away from residential care to people retaining independence in their own homes.

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