MORE than £5 million of extra funding is heading to Gwent to help frontline health and social care services cope with the demands of the forthcoming winter.

The money will help people access care closer to home, and enable patients to leave hospital when they are ready, with appropriate ongoing care or support in place.

It comes as part of a £30m Wales-wide programme designed to ensure that the impact of increased demand during the December-March period is minimised.

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board will receive £1,913,000 to support the delivery of urgent and emergency care services, and Gwent's Regional Partnership Board - which involves the health board and Gwent councils - will receive £3,252,000 to develop and promote integrated projects, and to implement regional planning for the winter period, £5,165,000 in all.

An emergency department wellbeing and home safe service, delivered by the British Red Cross, and a hospital to a healthier home service, delivered by Care and Repair Cymru, both of which were successful as pilot projects last year, will continue this winter.

There will be a focus across Wales this year on seven issues that are considered vital to minimising problems for health and social care services during winter:

• Optimising joint working between health, social care, and the charitable and voluntary sectors to make services as resilient as possible;

• Ensuring urgent primary care out-of-hours services are robust;

• Preventing unnecessary ambulance journeys to, and admissions to, hospital;

• Discharging patients where appropriate for assessment and to boost recovery;

• Providing step-down capacity in community settings to free up hospital beds;

• Enhancing the focus on respiratory treatment and care pathways for patients;

• Enhancing the focus on frailty treatment and care pathways for patients.


Gwent's health board, like its counterparts across Wales, is busy putting the final touches to comprehensive winter plans, in collaboration with regional partnership boards, and the charitable and voluntary sectors.

“This year has been one of the busiest ever for urgent and emergency care services in Wales," said health minister Vaughan Gething.

"Winter brings with it additional pressures, including cold conditions, increased hospital admissions for older people and more people using GP and emergency services. These are felt by our staff, as well as patients.

"We have the added complication this year of having to prepare for a potential no-deal Brexit, which could have a significant effect on services.

"But with this extra funding and careful planning with health boards, regional partnership boards and partners, we are doing everything we can to ensure services continue to run effectively.

"Together with the hard-work and commitment of our dedicated health and social care workers this will help improve resilience across the service this winter.”