MPs welcome hospital discharge fund cash for Swindon

By Barrie Hudson - 24 January 2023

  • Sir Robert Buckland, left, and Justin Tomlinson

    Sir Robert Buckland, left, and Justin Tomlinson

North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson and South Swindon counterpart Sir Robert Buckland have welcomed a Government bid to free hospital beds in the town.

Swindon is set to benefit from part of a £200m national hospital discharge fund, intended to reduce pressure on the NHS. 

The announcement was made by Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay, and it has since been confirmed that Bath, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board will receive more than £3million from the fund.

The additional financial support has been provided to buy immediate short-term care placements to allow people to be discharged safely from hospitals into the community where they will receive the care they need to recover before returning to their homes. 

The move will free up hospital beds so people can be admitted more quickly from A&E to wards, reducing pressure on emergency departments and speeding up ambulance handovers. 

In addition to this, the Government has announced an additional £50m in capital funding to expand hospital discharge lounges and ambulance hubs. 

Ambulance queues in some areas are made worse due to a lack of physical space, and the Government says the new money will create new ambulance hubs where vehicles can manoeuvre more easily to avoid delays in handing over patients. 

The funding boost will also expand discharge lounges in NHS trusts - areas where patients can be moved out of acute beds while they wait to be discharged, freeing up beds in the meantime.

The Government is also running a national recruitment campaign to attract more carers into the workforce. The £500m adult social care discharge fund announced last year is available to help with the recruitment and retention of staff and can be used to provide bonuses and pay-rises to carers.  

Mr Tomlinson and Sir Robert said in a joint statement: “The last couple of years have been incredibly challenging for the NHS, and the increased number of Covid and flu cases we are seeing currently are adding to the pressure. 

"The extra funding will provide much needed support to tackle delayed discharges, reduce hospital bed occupancy and ease stress on emergency departments – and ultimately improve outcomes for patients.”

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