NEIL Hamilton, AM for Mid & West Wales, and Leader of UKIP Wales, has welcomed news that an extra £10 million has been earmarked to help the NHS.

He was commenting after the Health Secretary, Vaughan Gething, announced additional funds to help relieve pressures on health and social care services in Wales, during the busy winter period.

The funding will be used to help health boards, the ambulance service and social care services across Wales, cope with the increased number of people using services at this time of year.

Mr Hamilton said: “While I welcome this extra investment to help hard-pressed front-line staff this winter, I still remain very concerned indeed at the state of our NHS in Wales.

“I am appalled by the terrible stories of patients forced to wait outside hospital in a line of ambulances and not being admitted due to lack of beds.

“This additional funding just papers over the cracks.  Unless the Welsh Government really gets to grips with the underlying problems, this will keep happening.   The NHS cannot be a monetary ‘black hole’ with managers blaming their failures on a lack of funding.   Real reform is vital if the NHS is to survive.   We can no longer ignore the elephant in the room.  A scandalous proportion of NHS resources are being swallowed up by some senior staff earning obscene amounts of public money.   A staffing strategy should take account of peaks and troughs in demand, population increases and demographic changes to ensure the NHS is not forced into paying ludicrous overtime bills and agency fees just to maintain basic services.”

The extra funding will help relieve pressure across the whole system from primary care through to hospital care and social services in Wales, for example, enabling older people to leave hospital more quickly through the use of support packages where appropriate.

The Health Secretary expects Health Boards to work with their partners to determine the best use of the investment based on local pressures, priorities and capacity.

Vaughan Gething said that during this challenging period, he wanted to provide the NHS in Wales with an extra £10 million of new investment to help front line staff care for our patients through this winter.

He said: “We know both Primary Care and Accident and Emergency (A&E) services across Wales are currently extremely busy. The ambulance service has reported increases of up to 50% in life threatening incidents when compared to last year at times over Christmas. Our 111 service received twice as many calls as predicted on New Year’s Day and the Out of Hours service continues to face huge demands. This additional funding will go some way in helping relieve the pressure on the system.”

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