NHS Scotland announces winter plans

Scottish health Secretary Humza Yousaf has set out measures for the NHS over the coming months to support the health and care system over the winter.

The measures include the recruitment of 1,000 additional staff over the winter, with £8 million of funding to recruit up to 750 nurses, midwives and allied health professionals from overseas and 250 support staff across acute, primary care and mental health; £45 million for the Scottish Ambulance Service to support on-going recruitment, service development and winter planning; and £124 million to assist health and social care partnerships expand care at-home capacity.

The Social Care Staff Support Fund will also be extended to 31 March 2023, so staff receive full pay in Covid isolation.

GPs will be contacted to underline the expectation that pre-bookable appointments are available in every practice, as well as same-day, face-to-face and remote appointments.

Yousaf said: “NHS Scotland’s staffing and funding is already at historically high levels, but as we approach the winter period it is crucial that we look to maximise, and enhance where we can, the capacity of the NHS. Given the scale of the escalating cost of living crisis, combined with the continued uncertainty posed by COVID and a possible resurgence of Flu, this winter will be one of the most challenging our NHS has ever faced.

“These measures will support winter resilience across our health and care system, ensuring people get the right care they need at the right time and in the most appropriate setting. We will also expand our workforce, particularly registered nurses to assist with the expected increase in workload. We have jointly agreed a number of overarching priorities with Cosla which will help guide our services this winter. We are on course to double our virtual capacity this year and so far have avoided or saved bed days equivalent to adding a large district general hospital.

“We have published the first update on our NHS Recovery Plan which highlights just how much progress we have made in the past year, I am determined to build on this and we will report on progress annually.  

“Our NHS and social care staff have shown remarkable resilience in the face of sustained pressure on services and I would like to thank them for their continued commitment and hard work. As we approach the Winter period their efforts will be vital in ensuring we deliver high quality care for the public.

“To help relieve pressure on services, people should continue to consider whether their condition is an emergency before going to A&E. Local GPs and pharmacies can be contacted during the day for non-critical care, NHS 24 is also available on 111 for non-emergencies.”


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