The Government will invest £2.9 billion to help patients who no longer need urgent hospital treatment to return home, with the goal of making at least 15,000 beds available during the coronavirus outbreak.
The funding comes from the £5 billion COVID-19 fund announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in last week’s budget. Of this, £1.6 billion will go to local authorities to help them respond to other coronavirus pressures across all the services they deliver. This includes increasing support for the adult social care workforce and for services helping the most vulnerable, including homeless people. A further £1.3 billion will be used to enhance the NHS discharge process so patients who no longer need urgent treatment can return home safely.
‘Our NHS and social care colleagues are at the heart of protecting the most vulnerable during the coronavirus outbreak, and the whole country is tremendously grateful for their commitment during this challenging time,’ said Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
‘This funding will help the NHS and social care services in our communities to rise to this once in a generation challenge by allowing the NHS to do what it needs to, and help move people out of hospital as soon as possible to get them back home with the right support. We are clear that we will do whatever it takes to protect lives and protect our NHS.’
The funding will cover the follow-on care costs for adults in social care, or people who need additional support, when they are out of hospital and back in their homes, community settings, or care settings. According to the Government, enhancing the NHS discharge process will help free up 15,000 hospital beds across England and ensure more staff have capacity to treat people needing urgent care, including those being cared for with coronavirus.
‘I’ve been clear that the NHS and other vital public services will receive whatever they need to protect people from coronavirus,’ said Chancellor Rishi Sunak. ‘Our £5 billion budget response fund is now being used to free up more beds in hospitals and ensure some of our most vulnerable people are getting the care they need. The government will continue to lay out comprehensive and coordinated responses to get this country through this situation.’