Lancashire County Council has announced that it will make up to £500,000 available to ease winter pressures on Lancashire’s hospitals.
The news comes after Lancaster Royal Lancaster Infirmary spoke of overwhelming pressure on its A&E department.
A social care team will survey Lancashire’s hospitals on a regular basis to identify immediate actions that can speed up the discharges of patients from hospital.
Where these actions require additional funding the £500,000 contingency will ensure money is immediately available.
The contingency fund is part of a raft of measures introduced by the county council to tackle winter pressures, including:
•Increased staff capacity over Christmas and the New Year to ensure that there are social work staff on site at hospitals every day through the festive period.
•Restricted annual leave across hospital and community teams to ensure 80% of available staff are in work from 1 December to 31 January 2017.
•An additional 20 occupational therapists are being recruited to enable more timely assessments and enable people to remain more independent in their own homes.
•An additional 300 hours of crisis domiciliary care support will also be commissioned to provide extra capacity.
•Additional care navigation hours will be arranged to help find appropriate places in residential care, ensuring an efficient flow of people through the care system.
The county council’s senior managers will continue to work very closely with health colleagues to provide resources where they are most needed and can be most effective for people.
County Councillor Tony Martin, Cabinet Member for Adult and Community Services, said: “There are serious pressures on the health and social care system across the country and we face the same pressures here in Lancashire.
“It’s a measure of how seriously we take this issue that we have identified this funding at a time when the county council is facing an unprecedented financial challenge.
“I am committed to doing all we can for our frail elderly citizens over the winter months
“For the longer term we are working very hard on how we can manage future demand, as we face reducing budgets and rising costs.
“We are fully committed to working with colleagues in the Trusts and the Clinical Commissioning Groups to try and ease pressures and keep the system running through the rest of the winter.”