HEALTH services in Bolton have been given a £1.8 million cash boost by the government to cope with winter pressures.
NHS England has announced a £150 million hand-out across England to help hospitals maintain services over the notoriously busy winter period.
This follows the Royal Bolton Hospital missing out on a cut of the Government’s £250 million bail-out fund for struggling accident and emergency departments, which in previous years, would have been given to trusts to help cope with winter pressures.
However, the Bolton NHS Foundation Trust did not receive this funding due to its improved A&E performance over the past year.
The £1.88 million slice of the latest cash hand-out will go to the NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) — which allocates funding for health services in Bolton.
The CCG has also allocated £808,000 for integrated winter projects with Bolton NHS Foundation Trust and Bolton Council.
CCG bosses say the additional £1.88 million from NHS England will fund winter projects — such as an extra ward and beds at the hospital — as well as new integrated healthcare pilots.
Su Long, chief officer at the Bolton CCG, said: “This money is very welcome and will be used effectively in Bolton. We have been planning with Bolton NHS Foundation Trust and Bolton Council for several months the best ways to meet the extra demand for healthcare that winter brings.
“Due to this national funding, the money the CCG had diverted to winter projects can now fund some integrated care pilots.”
Jackie Bene, interim chief executive at the Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Winter always brings increased pressures on health services and the trust welcomes the additional funding that has been made available which will help us to ensure that we continue to provide a high level of care to patients over the next few months.” One of the new pilot projects includes an integrated rapid response team to help people recover from hospital treatment in their own homes.
The CCG will also continue to support the planned overnight visiting service with Bolton Council as part of the intermediate care plan.
Cllr Andy Morgan, who sits on the health scrutiny committee, welcomed the news. He said: “The fact that the council, the CCG and foundation trust are all working together on these winter projects is key to the integrated health economy in Bolton.”