HEALTH chiefs have handed over £1m to a hospital trust to boost services over the busy winter months.
Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) was given the £1.17m by the Government in a bid to prevent an accident and emergency crisis during the cold weather months.
Traditionally more patients are admitted to hospital with illnesses and accidents compared to during the fairer seasons of the year.
The CCG has handed the cash to North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust to invest in its services and to ensure it has the capacity to care for potential patients.
The windfall will be spent on:
l Additional emergency care practitioners;
l Senior doctors at weekends;
l Paediatric nurse practitioners;
l Additional beds;
l Seven-day opening of its pharmacy.
Dr Boleslaw Posmyk, chair of the CCG, said the money will be put to good use to benefit patients and also staff working during these times.
He told the Mail: “As part of its response to winter, the CCG has provided additional funding of over £1 million to North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation trust to invest in services and ensure that there is capacity over the coming months.”
He added: “Amongst other things, the money will be used to pay for additional emergency care practitioners and senior doctors at weekends, paediatric nurse practitioners to support the assessment and treatment of children, additional care home beds and seven-day opening of the pharmacy.”
The money was handed to the CCG so it could work more closely with the hospital trust to treat more patients at weekends and to tackle so-called bed-blocking - when patients stay on wards unecessarily.
A total of £11.38m was handed out to CCGs across the region to 14 trusts.
As well as North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust receiving the cash, Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield received £2.2m, South Tees got £2.1m and Sundreland was handed £1.11m towards the winter-time preventative measures.
The funding was announced as Labour complained to the Government that 2013 was the “worst year in a decade in accident and emergency”.