EXTRA staff will be put in place in the under-pressure accident and emergency department of Northampton General Hospital using a share of £3 million new investment.
The money will also be used to fund additional ambulance crews, to ensure there is no delay in responding to 999 calls.
These are among a raft of measures to be introduced in an attempt to ease the winter pressures being felt by the county’s healthcare services.
A number of schemes totalling £1.4 million have been agreed by the county’s clinical commission groups (CCGs) and NHS Northamptonshire, and in addition the Department of Health has made available £1.7 million for the county.
The funding, announced yesterday, follows the tragic death of 87-year-old Phyllis Asten last week, who died following a 90-minute wait for an ambulance after she fell over in the garden of her home in Spencer, Northampton.
Dr Darin Seiger, chairman of Nene Commissioning, said: “We welcome this additional funding, which will assist us in our goal of ensuring patients receive the best possible care in the most appropriate setting.
“There have been enormous pressures on the whole health system in Northamptonshire throughout this winter, in common with the rest of the NHS, and it will take time to solve these issues but this funding will help.”
NHS Northamptonshire, Nene Commissioning, Corby Healthcare, Northamptonshire County Council and the Department of Health will work together to ensure the funding helps the flow of patients through the health and social care system during an extremely busy winter.
A&E at Northampton General Hospital experienced three highest-level ‘black alerts’, when the hospital is struggling to cope, in just three weeks in October and one in December.
It also broke records twice for high levels of admitted patients. NHS Northamptonshire said there was no one specific reason for the extreme demand on services, but issues included finding appropriate accommodation for patients once they were ready to be discharged, capacity in community beds and specialist care centres, and an increase in admissions, particularly to Northampton General Hospital.
The additional funding will include:
£250,000 on consultants and nurses for the accident and emergency department at Northampton General Hospital.
Extra ambulance crews to be put in place to ensure 999 calls are responded to without delay.
The expansion of the hospital ambulance liaison officers (HALO), who support ambulance staff on arrival at hospital.
£130,000 to fund two additional consultant emergency physicians at Kettering General Hospital, to work until the end of March.
Better access to GP services, including additional out of hours support.
Rapid response community nursing service in Northampton and Kettering.
£50,000 for an enablement therapy scheme at Kettering General Hospital.