MORE than £4 million has been awarded to the county council to help keep patients out of hospital over the winter months.

Pressure on hospital services increases over the winter. And the ‘winter care grant’ funds are designed to ensure patients are discharged as soon as they are medically fit.

They are particularly focused on patients who find their discharge from hospital could be delayed because of a wait for adult social care services.

Council plans – which have been drawn up with local ‘clinical commissioning groups’ – include providing care and support so patients can return home, without delay.

And there will have staff available so that patients can be discharged more easily at the weekends too.

There willl be short-term care available, where necessary, to bridge the gap between hospital and home.

And there will be additional work to make sure people get the support they need in the community so they don’t need to go to hospital at all.

On Monday leader of the county council Cllr David Williams told the cabinet that the funding – announced by the Secretary of State in October – recognised the pressures facing the sector.

And he said that, because the the work had to be implemented quickly to impact on the winter months, almost £1 million of the funds had already been committed.

According to the report to the cabinet, in 2017/18, the discharge of 4.6 in every 100,000 patients was delayed because of social care. This is higher than the national average.

The county council was awarded £4.135million Winter Care Grant funding. The council has been awarded the same amount for 2019/20.