Cash to ease bed blocking

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Lancashire County Council is set to spend nearly £1m to help provide more winter care and crisis support for county residents and ease pressure on local hospitals.

It has created a new £500,000 contingency fund from its reserves. Meanwhile the NHS has given the council £430,000 plus to help meet winter demands.

The funding comes amid national concerns about hospital bed blocking and an increase in winter deaths in Lancashire in 2014-15.

A social care team will now survey county hospitals regularly to identify immediate actions to speed up discharge of patients. If these actions need extra funding the contingency fund will be used.

County Coun Tony Martin, cabinet member for adult and community service said: “I am committed to doing all we can for our frail elderly citizens over the winter months. We are fully committed to working with colleagues in the (health) Trusts and the Clinical Commissioning Groups to try and ease pressures and keep the system running through the rest of the winter.”

The NHS resilience cash will fund extra staff at key times to support safe hospital discharges and avoid delays in transfers of care.

The council said it has restricted annual leave across hospital and community teams until January 31, is recruiting 20 more occupational therapists and commissioning 300 hours extra crisis home care support.

Thre will be social work staff on site at hospitals every day throughout the festive period.

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