Hospitals in Sheffield have been given more than £1.5 million in extra funds from the Government to ease winter A&E pressures.
The cash is being provided from a £400 million NHS England pot being shared around the country, to help services cope with an increase in patient numbers if freezing weather strikes.
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals – which runs the city’s adult A&E at the Northern General Hospital, and the minor injuries unit at the Royal Hallamshire – is getting £1.6 million from the pot to spend during the winter months.
In 2013 the trust received more than £2 million in extra funds to treat patients with winter ailments, but the cash has been allocated earlier this year. Trusts will be able to recruit temporarily more nurses and doctors, and secure more hospital beds, if they can demonstrate that they are necessary to meet demand.
Bosses at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals previously said they were drawing up a ‘robust’ plan to stop A&E being deluged with patients.
A report to the trust’s board of directors said there was a ‘significant improvement’ in performance last winter compared to 2012.
More patients were seen within four hours, despite a small increase in the number of people arriving at A&E, and there were fewer cases of vomiting bug norovirus.
Hundreds of thousands of pounds were spent in 2013/14 on extra nurses, ambulances to transfer patients between hospital sites, and more care beds.
But the report admitted the ‘immediate withdrawal’ of the schemes at the end of March had a ‘significant adverse impact’, with standards seen to slump afterwards.
Last winter there were 152 cases of norovirus at the Northern General, compared with 309 in 2012/13.
However, delayed transfers of care – where patients are stuck in hospital because of a shortage of social care places – hit a high of 144 in January.