NHS Forth Valley will receive an additional £509,419 to help it cope with added pressures over the coming winter months.

Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson has welcomed the Scottish Government funding, which is part of a £10million allocation to health boards across the country and comes on top of a £9million investment to support unscheduled care all year round.

The winter funding allocation is being made available earlier than in previous years to allow health boards to put robust plans in place.

The money will enable health and social care services to increase weekend discharges in cases where patients are fit to go home. Traditionally, the weekend discharge rate is lower than during the week, leading to delays in hospital beds becoming available.

The funding will assist health boards with staff planning over weekends and the festive bank holidays, ensuring both admission and discharge rates can be maintained.

Mr Matheson said: “This additional funding is good news for patients and NHS staff in Forth Valley as it will help to relieve the pressure on our health service during the winter months.
“It’s particularly reassuring that this money is being made available well in advance of this traditionally busy period for our health service, which means there’s plenty of time to get plans in place to ensure that patients will be able to make their way through the system without any unnecessary delays.”

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman added: “We know winter creates particular pressures on our health and social care system. It’s important that we are well prepared and that’s why we are allocating funding earlier than ever before.

“This investment will ensure boards can put appropriate plans 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.”