Health Minister announces extra £12.5m for social care and pharmacies to help keep people out of hospital
Wales’ Health Minister has announced new funding that will help keep people out of hospital and help those already in hospital return to the community to make way for new patients.
The Welsh NHS Confederation said last week that up to 15% of hospital beds are occupied by people who are medically fit to leave but don’t have the right care in place to be able to return home.
Patients cannot leave hospital unless they have the right care in place at home, and the new £12.5 million funding is aimed at relieving that winter pressure on the NHS by helping to support people to live independently following a hospital stay.
The money will also help pharmacies support more people to stay well without needing to see a GP, Health Minister Eluned Morgan said.
“The pressures on the health and social care system remains extremely challenging,” she said. “We all need to work together to support our health and social care services and help us to help you this winter.
“Simple things like visiting local pharmacies or minor injuries units for advice on minor health concerns, checking symptoms online using the NHS 111 Wales website or getting a COVID vaccine can make a high difference to our NHS and help people look after their health this winter.
“The funding announced today will help tackle the hospital and work force pressures within community services and social care by avoiding unnecessary hospital admissions and supporting people who currently cannot be discharged from hospitals due to insufficient care capacity return home.”
£10 million will be distributed across the 22 local authorities to purchase equipment to help people with care and support needs to live independently in their own homes.
Local authorities will be able to purchase equipment such as flow mattresses, patient turning systems, stair lifts and hoists and telecare equipment or fund small or medium home adaption.
The Welsh Government said that increasing the amount of equipment available and getting it installed before care needs escalate further could free up much-needed hospital beds by allowing people to be discharged quicker and avoid unnecessary hospital stays.
In addition, £2.5 million will be spent with the aim of better supporting pharmacists and patients by improving access to treatment and advice for a range of common ailments.
Increased access to pharmacies would reduce pressures on GPs and other NHS services by encouraging patients to speak to a participating community pharmacist rather than their GP for advice and free NHS treatment for a range of “common ailments”, they said.