ICSs prepare for winter pressures

£4.5 million given to Merton and Wandsworth to combat winter health care pressures

Health care services in Merton and Wandsworth have been given an additional £4.5 million pounds in funding in order to strengthen support for health care services during the colder months, as part of NHS England’s additional capacity funding for winter pressures.

£3.15 million will be distributed amongst the most used London borough hospitals – St Helier and St George’s. At St George’s, the funding will be used to for extra staff and equipment for the Urgent Care Centre and the Emergency Department, with a new ‘floor streamer’ role created to help managing increasing numbers attending the hospital, more staff on hand to support discharge, and a new ‘frailty zone’ developed for older, more vulnerable people.

Meanwhile at St Helier, Sutton GPs will introduce a community hospital run on site which will provide short-term medical and therapeutic care to help those transitioning from hospital back into everyday life.

Funding will also go to social care teams helping rehabilitate hospital patients in Merton (£875,000) and Wandsworth (£710,000) whilst Central London Community Healthcare will receive £790,000 to help more people leave hospital and return home.

A key area of focus for the funding is around supporting mental health needs. As part of this, ‘brokerage teams’ who put care home arrangements in place to help people stay out of hospital or return home will be funded to work seven days a week, for longer hours.

New initiatives will also be put in place to help people’s journey through the care system, such as funding temporary changes to people’s homes to allow them to leave hospital and receive care there.

In addition, other initiatives in place across the ICS to meet increasing pressures include cost of living support with local councils investing in new schemes to help people afford healthy food; vaccination boosters over the winter period; and a new approach to mental health, with the New Testament Assembly Church in Tooting now housing mental health support services designed by and for the community they serve.

Councils in South West London are also to receive a share of the new national £500 million adult social care discharge fund created by the government; we covered this funding announcement our sister site HTN, click here to read more.