£4.3m to take pressure of hospital as population ages

Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Blackpool Victoria Hospital

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Plans to ease the pressure on Blackpool Victoria Hospital wards struggling to cope with record numbers have been given a £4.32m boost.

The cash has been given by the government to health and care organisations across the area, who say it will be used to help treat people in the community, reducing the risk of them being admitted to hospital.

Retired RAF corporal Colin Davenport, 81, who is benefitting from the new Extensive Care Service, with wellbeing support worker Rachel Howarth

Retired RAF corporal Colin Davenport, 81, who is benefitting from the new Extensive Care Service, with wellbeing support worker Rachel Howarth

But the amount they’ve been given by NHS England is significant lower than the £9.6m health chiefs applied for.

That has been blamed on the national ‘vanguard’ project, which sees health groups and councils working together, being oversubscribed.

Speaking on behalf of the Fylde Coast vanguard partners, Peter Tinson, chief operating officer at NHS Fylde and Wyre CCG, said: “While this funding may be less than requested, it is still a significant endorsement of our plans for local health and care services.

“We and other vanguards across the country were made aware from an early stage that the total sum of bids submitted was around three times the amount of money available. Therefore, we were already reviewing plans for the likelihood of receiving a lesser amount than requested.

Peter Tinson, chief operating officer at NHS Fylde and Wyre CCG

Peter Tinson, chief operating officer at NHS Fylde and Wyre CCG

“We remain encouraged by this investment and are confident that it will allow us to continue with our approaches to improving experiences for patients and address the challenges which we face on the Fylde coast.”

Although it’s too early to say exactly how the cash will be spent, it will ultimately be used to tackle the ailments of the growing number of elderly residents and those living with long-term conditions.

More staff will be recruitedby the vanguard, which includes both Blackpool and Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), the hospital, Lancashire Care NHS Trust, which provides mental health services across the county, the county council, and Blackpool Council.

Mr Tinson added: “We want to keep people out of hospital by providing services which are seamlessly coordinated and more proactive.

“That can only be achieved by organisations working together in the way that we are on the Fylde coast.”

The cash will also fund the further rolling-out of the vanguard’s Extensive Care Service, which was initially launched in Lytham and sees residents over 60 with two or more long-term conditions given their own support worker who they meet on a regular basis, and a care plan, and treated by one dedicated team.

The project, aimed at reducing the time older people spend in hospital, also launched at centres in South Shore and Poulton last month, and has been hailed a success.