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Government expands ‘winter pressure’ plan


27 November 2013

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NHS staff could be made to work additional hours in order to help the health service cope with winter pressures, the Department of Health has announced. 
The equivalent of 3,000 additional NHS staff will be made available through hiring temporary staff, creating new positions and extending current hours. 
According to the Department of Health, the changes would equal an extra 320 doctors and nearly 2,000 nurses, physiotherapists, social workers and other staff. 

NHS staff could be made to work additional hours in order to help the health service cope with winter pressures, the Department of Health has announced. 
The equivalent of 3,000 additional NHS staff will be made available through hiring temporary staff, creating new positions and extending current hours. 
According to the Department of Health, the changes would equal an extra 320 doctors and nearly 2,000 nurses, physiotherapists, social workers and other staff. 
And nearly 2,500 extra beds will be made available across England. The resources will be put in place following a government injection of £250 million earlier this year to support the most under pressure NHS Trusts, and £150 million that was announced last week for other trusts.  
Up to 1,200 of the beds will be available in the community and in care homes. 
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “We’re backing our hardworking NHS staff with the extra doctors, nurses and best they need to make sure patients get the excellent care they expect, no matter what season it is. 
“We know that cold weather affects out health and has an impact on the NHS every year. This year will be no different. That’s why we have prepared earlier than ever before by supporting the NHS with a £250 million fund that has been used to hire more doctors and nurses, and provide more beds.” 
In addition, the government has announced a £15 million cash injection to NHS 111, to prepare the service for potential winter pressures.
Dr Mark Porter, chair of the British Medical Association council said the government is being dishonest about the fact that this is not additional funding. 
He said: “This is money which is being moved from one part of the NHS to another, and doesn’t offer a sustainable solution to the acute funding pressures facing the NHS. The maths simply don’t add up.
“Short-term fixes, however well meaning, will only get us so far. We have to look at the long-term funding and recruitment pressures on the NHS as a whole if we are to get to grips with the pressures hospitals face year in year out, but which are compounded during the winter months.”

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