Ludlow MP Philip Dunne welcomed the latest NHS plan to overhaul how urgent and emergency care services can reduce current waiting times and improve efficiency.
The NHS is facing serious capacity challenges due to the backlog of patients built up through the Covid pandemic and much higher levels of seasonal flu, recorded as the worst for a decade. Reports for December 2022 show a record number of patients waiting to be admitted in A & E. Due to high hospital occupancy rates some patients have faced unacceptably long delays.
The urgent and emergency care capacity fund is investing £1b nationally. This will deliver 5,000 more beds compared to the numbers originally planned for 2022-23, and put over 800 more ambulances on the road, including 100 specialist mental health ambulances. The fund will also help tackle unwanted local variations in performance improving access to care and reducing pressure on A & E. As part of the plan NHS 111 will be expanded to offer both in person and online, making it the first port of call and helping reduce drop-in attendance at A&E.
The Government and the NHS are working together to tackle waiting lists and this investment provides an extra £750m this year. The funding is aimed to speed up the discharges of the medically fit patients who require elective recovery. The funding will also help recruit and retain high levels of staff needed to work on the wards.
Commenting on the announcement the South Shropshire MP said:
“I am very pleased to see the proper concerns of my constituents, who have been contacting me with their experiences or that of their friends or family members having to wait to be admitted to hospital. This latest plan will drive transformation and change at the heart of the NHS. It will improve admission times and accelerate the discharge of patients with suitable care packages, when required.
“This will reduce pressure on our committed clinicians in both acute hospitals, the RSH in Shrewsbury and PRH in Telford, by investing more in ambulances, unlocking more beds, supported by more staff.
“I met NHS leaders recently and look forward to seeing these plans being implemented here in Shropshire as soon as possible.”