Lancashire Teaching Hospitals has been given nearly £1m to help cope with added pressure in its emergency departments this winter.
The Government has allocated an extra £250m to help A&E units within 53 ‘high risk’ areas across the country.
Royal Preston Hospital and Chorley and South Ribble Hospital were awarded £914,000 after struggling to deal with a high volume of patients in 2012.
Karen Partington, chief executive of the NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The number of people needing urgent care and treatment increased last year, and many of those patients required a longer than average stay in hospital.
“This compromised our ability to see, treat and admit emergency department patients as quickly as we would expect, and increased waiting times for planned procedures.
“The additional money will help fund a number of schemes and projects that will reduce unnecessary hospital admission, and enable safe and timely discharge from hospital.”
Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, said the decision on which areas to give the money was made by NHS England, working with Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority, on the basis of where “the highest-risk areas are”.
Ben Wallace, MP for Wyre and Preston North, said the move was part of the Government’s long term plan to deal with pressures on A&E, including having a named GP accountable for patient care, investment in new technology to ensure patient records are shared between hospitals and family doctors, and more money for social care.
He said: “For the hardworking NHS staff that serve my constituents this extra money will be a welcome boost this winter, when A&E departments come under most pressure.
“Once again we are seeing a positive outcome for hardworking people from our decision to increase NHS spending.”
Discussions are already underway to make sure the money is spent on interventions that will have the most impact.
Last year the trust worked with local Clinical Commissioning Groups, North West Ambulance Service, Lancashire Care and Lancashire County Council on several new winter schemes.
- A service to help patients unable to return home because of increased dependency and healthcare needs to find a nursing or residential home
- Additional social care and nursing support for the hospital discharge planning team to extend the service to seven days and increased hours
- ‘Step down’ beds in the community for patients who don’t need to be in hospital but who might require some short term treatment
- Increased GP cover out of hours and during bank holidays
- Increased working hours for the community rapid response team, which provides immediate nursing and care
The windfall comes as the trust prepares to launch a new £435,000 cancer information and support service across both of its hospitals tomorrow.
Macmillan Cancer Support has provided £335,000 of funding for the scheme, which is led by trained staff and volunteers, and Rosemere Cancer Foundation has donated £100,000 to build and equip an information centre within its existing cancer centre at Royal Preston Hospital.