Forth Valley Health Board will receive a share of £8.4million funding announced this week to improve NHS resilience during the busy Christmas and New Year period.

It brings the Scottish Government’s total additional investment to help health and social care services cope with winter pressures and unscheduled care this year to a record high of £22.4million.

The latest funding supports the implementation of recommendations by Sir Lewis Ritchie’s review into the resilience of all urgent care services over public holidays.

Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson said: “This additional funding will relieve pressure on our NHS this festive period by helping patients to transfer through the system without any unnecessary delays.

“Our hard-working staff in NHS Forth Valley deserve our support and that’s why the Scottish Government is providing record funding to improve resilience during this busy time of year.”

Health Secretary Shona Robison added: “We expect challenges over winter and NHS boards are coping well with the demands placed on them so far.

“Thousands of NHS, social care, independent and third sector staff work extremely hard on public holidays, and throughout the year, providing a lifeline of care and support to patients.

“Boards have already made progress implementing the recommendations Sir Lewis and his team put forward in their planning and preparation this winter.”

The recommendations include well-co-ordinated, multi-disciplinary urgent health and social care provision across the whole care system, sufficient levels of senior staff from all sectors being on duty, promoting community pharmacies as a source of advice and proactive discharge planning in advance of public holidays.