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CCGs given £150m to ease winter A&E pressures

CCGs given £150m to ease winter A&E pressures

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NHS England has dedicated a further £150 million to help hospitals maintain their A&E services over the winter. 

This is in addition to the £250 million extra funding which was given to the most at-risk areas earlier this year. 

Communities which are less at risk will be given the money to enhance their existing plans, ensuring that services are maintained. 

The money comes from NHS England’s expected surplus for the current financial year. The money will be allocated to clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) depending on population size. 

An NHS England statement said: “Decisions on how the money will be spent will be taken by Urgent Care Working Groups – the new collaborative groups of hospital, community and primary care clinicians responsible for ensuring A&E services meet four-hour standards and provide high-quality care.

“As with the funding announced by the Department of Health in September, health services can use this additional money to improve other services away from A&E to reduce unnecessary visits and avoidable emergency admissions, as well as boosting individual A&E departments.” 

However, the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has warned that a funding gap of £10 billion will increase GP waiting times over winter. 

Funding has drifted away from primary care towards hospitals over the past eight years, figures published by the RCGP show, meaning that general practice now receives £2.4 billion less per year. 

An opinion poll, conducted on behalf of the RCGP recently, showed that 71% of GPs expect waiting times to worsen over the next two years due to the decrease in funding.

RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker said: “The drift of funding away from general practice to secondary care is a deep-seated and long-term trend which is starving general practice of the money it needs to deliver high levels of patient care.

“The vast majority of GPs think that the decline in funding for general practice will regretfully lead to longer waiting times for patients over the next two years. This lengthening of waiting times is a continuous process, and will inevitably worsen this winter as temperatures plummet.” 

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