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8th August 2013

Cash injection plans for England's over-stretched A&E units

David Cameron is set to announce a £500m cash injection to relieve pressure on England's A&E departments.

During a visit to Salford Royal Hospital's accident and emergency department today, the Prime Minister said there needed to be "profound changes" to the way in which A&E departments work.

Mr Cameron said the pressure on A&E had been caused by an extra one million people visiting A&E compared with three years ago and that without the cash boost in the short term there would be further problems at stretched A&E units next winter.

"Services and staff can find themselves under pressure during the busier winter period," he said. "While A&E departments are performing well this summer and at a level we would expect for this time of year, I want the NHS to take action now to prepare for the coming winter. The additional funding will go to hospitals where the pressure will be greatest, with a focus on practical measures that relieve pinch points in local services."

The funding will go to A&E departments facing the worst pressure following a review by the English health regulator, Monitor, and NHS England.

Emphasis on caring for older people in community

Ministers are working on plans to take the pressure off A&E services, including possible local measures for quicker treatment, seven-day social work, and more attention paid to the health needs of older people.

Mr Cameron told BBC Breakfast: 'It’s true that we need to make the more profound changes to deal with the pressures on A&E.

"So the money helps in the short term, but in the longer term, what we’ve got to do is get our hospitals working better with GP surgeries and also get our hospitals working better with our social care departments so that the frail elderly, who are often the ones going in and out of A&E are better cared for in
the community.

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