NHS Scotland has set aside £10m for local health boards to help tackle winter pressures across the country.
Its aim is to help reduce hospital attendances, where possible, by managing care closer to home for those with long-term conditions and minor injuries, with a focus on better use of community pharmacies and more support to direct people to the best service for their needs.
The funding, which has been allocated to health boards, is in addition to the £6.3 million previously allocated for unscheduled care.
It matches last winter’s investment, and will help ensure there are appropriate levels of staffing in place across the whole system so patients are cared for at the right place at the right time and as close to home as possible.
The investment will also help discharge patients over weekends and holiday periods where they are fit to go home.
Health secretary Jeane Freeman said: “Winter creates particular pressures on our health and social care system, so it’s important that we are well prepared. Our £10 million investment will support boards as well as health and social care to put appropriate steps in place – particularly to make sure people are discharged in a timely way when it’s safe to do so, and that the right staff are in place throughout the system.”
Adding: “However, this requires more than just investment – we need strong leadership and collaborative working across the whole system to ensure people are getting the right help in the right place. We are already seeing examples of integration making a difference and we are focused on increasing the pace of this across Scotland.”