Around £15million will be spent recruiting 1,000 extra NHS staff members, a further £48million will be introduced to raise social care pay to £10.02 per hour and over £60million will be used on care at home services to free up hospital spaces. Additionally, £4.5million will be made available to health boards to recruit at least 200 registered nurses.
The remaining £172.5million will be divided between funding ‘step-down’ care, enhancing multi-disciplinary teams, supporting primary care, and helping staff with their practical and emotional needs.
The SNP’s Health Minister, Humza Yousaf, 36, said in his Holyrood announcement: “Our NHS, social care staff and social work staff have been remarkable throughout the pandemic and today’s additional investment will help support them to deliver care to people across Scotland this winter.”
However, Mr Yousaf’s fresh funding statement has come just weeks after Scotland recorded its worst month for waiting times at accident and emergency departments on record.
The Times reports just over three-in-four patients were seen within four-hours of their admission to hospital in Scotland in August.
This falls well short of the Government’s targets that states NHS hospitals should treat 95 percent of patients within 240-minutes of their arrival.
The situation north of the border has become so dire that the SNP’s Health Minister was forced to call on the British Army to drive ambulances.
The Scotsman has even claimed constables from Police Scotland have been tasked with taking injured people to hospital as they join the struggle to alleviate the strains on the nation’s ambulance service.
Speaking at the Scottish Parliament, the Glasgow Pollok MSP warned: “Our NHS is under more pressure than it has been at any point in the pandemic and quite frankly it is likely to get worse.”
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The Health Minister added: “It is for this reason I am announcing the most significant package of measures and investment since the advent of devolution to assist our NHS and social care services with winter pressures.
“It is important for me to be upfront and honest with the public and recognise that this winter is likely to be the most challenging we have ever faced.
“This government will be there to support our NHS during its greatest hour of need. My statement and announcements today demonstrate that we are true to our word.”
Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie responded to the announcement by saying: “I thank the cabinet secretary for advance sight of his statement, but it feels like a sticking plaster for a much more profound problem.”
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“Many of our frontline services are already being delivered on the back of wages of just under or over £10 an hour, and we know this isn’t nearly enough.”
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