WELSH Ministers have today announced a new £800m stabilisation package to help the Welsh NHS to continue to respond to and recover from the impact of the coronavirus crisis. This latest package takes the total amount of Welsh Government Covid-19 support for NHS organisations to more than £1.3bn.
The £800m fund will support NHS organisations across Wales to prepare for the anticipated challenges that winter will bring – responding to a potential second wave of the virus, alongside normal winter pressures – whilst continuing to further increase access to essential services.
Plans for the new funding include a strategic approach to the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for both the health and social care sectors so that an appropriate ‘buffer’ of supplies can be established to respond to any second wave of infections. It will also ensure that a reliable supply of PPE is available for primary care providers – including GPs, dentists and optometrists. This new funding will also help deliver Wales’ largest ever flu campaign, announced last month, which will ensure more people than ever will benefit from the free flu vaccine programme in preparation for winter.
With the real possibility for further peaks during the autumn and winter months, this investment will also ensure faster turnaround of test results to support contact tracing, so that Wales can respond rapidly to contain any spread of the virus.
It will also help to provide health boards with sufficient capacity, both through existing hospital sites and access to field hospitals as a contingency if needed.
Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said:
“We understand the growing financial pressures and challenges being faced across the public sector and we are doing all we can to alleviate these.
“I am confident that today’s announcement will provide our NHS with the stability it needs to respond to the pandemic.
“We are also continuing to work with local authorities to understand the considerable pressures they are facing and their priorities so that we can provide them with further support.”
Health and Social Services Minister Vaughan Gething added:
“Our health and social care services have faced unparalleled pressures in the fight against Covid-19. It is a testament to our dedicated NHS staff that Wales’ patients have continued to receive compassionate and professional care during this pandemic.
“Whilst our services rigorously prepare every year for winter pressures, 2020 may be unlike any other. This £800m package will help with many aspects as we move into the next phase of the virus such as PPE supplies, testing and an ambitious flu vaccination programme.”