The Welsh Ambulance Service and Health Boards prepare each year for the busy autumn and winter seasons. However, a combination of increasing demand and rising numbers of emergency admissions has continued throughout the conventionally difficult winter period through to the summer months, with no sign of decline.
There has also been a marked increase in the clinical complexity and frailty of patients being admitted and this has led to longer stays in hospital.
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Lesley Griffiths has recognised the strain on services and staff and has released the cash from the NHS contingency reserves.
The £10m will be available for 2012/13 to deliver immediate improvements within NHS Wales, which will support and accelerate service transformation in urgent and emergency care.
Health Minister Lesley Griffiths said:
“To say our dedicated Emergency Department and ambulance service staff are a vital part of NHS Wales is an understatement. Their ceaseless care and attention alleviates the pain and suffering of thousands of patients each year.
“While considerable efforts are being made by the ambulance service and all Health Boards to manage these pressures, I recognise immediate improvement is needed.
“I have approved a £10m injection of funding from NHS contingency reserves to help rebalance the system and put appropriate measures in place to ensure continued and high clinical quality delivery of emergency care services for patients.
“The investment will underpin a wider programme of longer term sustainability.”
“We all take it for granted that when we dial 999, we will have the quickest response and the best care. This injection of funds will enable this service to not only continue to deliver, but to continually improve.”