£9.4m health services boost

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AN extra £9.4m is being made available to boost front-line health and care services.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said the funds have been made available from efficiency savings made by the Department of Health.

The extra money will be spent across the North-East on helping people to leave hospital more quickly when they are ready, get settled back at home with the support they need, and to prevent unnecessary admissions to hospital.

The funding will bring forward the plans being put in place by health and local authorities to work together using NHS funding to support social care.

It will also enable local services to respond to pressures this winter.

David Stout, acting chief executive of NHS North East, said: "Savings have been made in the Department of Health's budget which can now be invested in front-line NHS services.

"It's really important, particularly at this time of year, that we help people to leave hospital as soon as they are ready. The latest figures show that 70 beds are unavailable in the North-East due to delayed transfers of care.

"Older people often need extra support after a spell in hospital. This money will enable the NHS and social care to work better together offering additional short-term residential care places, or respite and intermediate care, more capacity for home care support, investment in equipment, adaptations and telecare."

The money will be allocated to primary care trusts for them to transfer to councils to spend on social care support.

Primary care trusts and local authorities will decide how best to use the additional funding, for example investing in crisis response teams and other preventative services to avoid unnecessary admission to hospital.