THE HEALTH minister has claimed older people do not want to go to hospital unless “really necessary”.

It comes as the Welsh Government announces £8 million in reserved funding to support the most vulnerable people with care at or close to home and reduce pressure on hospitals over the winter period.

The money will be used to increase community health and social care workforce capacity in the evenings and on weekends, including increasing the hours of community nurses and end-of-life care clinical nurse specialists.

The funding will also deliver services such as the assessment of those living with frailty or other complex needs and agreeing a plan to support their wellbeing and independence at home.

Health minister Eluned Morgan MS visited the award-winning Home First team in Carmarthenshire, involving Hywel Dda University Health Board, Carmarthenshire County Council and the Welsh Ambulance Services Trust.

She said: “What matters to older people in need of care and support is to be cared for in familiar surroundings with familiar people.

“They do not want to go to hospital unless this is really necessary. They are also less likely to lose their confidence and muscle strength and less likely to pick up infections than in hospital.

“We are committed to driving change and transformation, and going further, faster to make sure more people can get the care and support they need at home or in their community. To enable this, learning about best practice needs to be shared across Wales.

“The Home First team in Carmarthenshire is a fantastic example of an integrated system which is delivering a radical, person-centred approach to wellbeing, care and support in the community. This is helping to avoid unnecessary admissions to hospital and reducing Pathways of Care Delays across the region.”

Deputy minister for social services, Julie Morgan MS, added: “We must reshape services, ensuring older people can continue to enjoy life, and ensuring our health and social care system is fit for the future and our increasingly ageing population.

“Our longer-term strategic vision is for a national care service in Wales.”