£50m to Build Ambulance Service Capacity
A £50 million funding boost for Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) recruitment and up to £12 million to expand Hospital at Home are among measures to support the health and care system this winter.
The Scottish Government and COSLA’s joint Winter Plan, published this week, identifies funding for SAS to support work already underway to recruit a further 317 frontline staff to help increase capacity to emergency response. It will also see 18 additional clinicians working in the call centre hub who, through additional triage, can offer patients alternative treatment routes in cases which are not time-critical, reducing the number of hospital admissions.
The expansion of Hospital at Home, which enables people to be treated at home rather than on a ward, is intended to deliver at least 380 additional beds this winter – significantly increasing the total service capacity.
The Scottish Government has been working closely with COSLA, Health and Social Care Partnerships, and NHS Boards on a number of further measures to ensure they are prepared for the winter period. This includes a Delayed Discharge Action Plan and improvements to the reporting of data to better identify specific areas for further support or escalation.
The Scottish Government’s Winter Plan Health and Social Care Winter Preparedness Plan 2023/24 – gov.scot (www.gov.scot) has been developed jointly with COSLA.
Hospital at Home enables people to receive treatments that would otherwise require them to be admitted to hospital, such as an intravenous drip or oxygen supply. It also provides access to hospital tests under the care of a consultant in their own home. The purpose of the service is to reduce hospital admissions by providing treatments in the comfort and familiarity of their own home. The expansion is funded from Barnett consequentials announced by the UK Government in September.
A record number of additional staff have been recruited to the Scottish Ambulance Service in the last three years with 1,388 people joining the service since 2020.