The Somerset Guardian, 8th December 2021

This week, the Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, wrote to Members of Parliament detailing the launch of the Government’s ‘Health and Social Care Approach to Winter’.

The Government is working hard to recruit 18,000 more staff, including nurses, healthcare support workers and medical support workers. It is keeping the nation protected against the virus through vaccination with over 15 million boosters having already been delivered in England in tandem with the biggest influenza vaccination programme in our history. New COVID-19 antiviral and therapeutic treatments have also been developed to help save more lives, including Ronapreve, Lagevrio and Paxlovid in addition to tocilizumab and dexamethasone.

£250 million is being given to general practice, £55 million to the ambulance service and £75 million to NHS111. £388 million is being spent on adult social care sector and £162.5 million has been set aside for workforce recruitment and retention. Furthermore, £478 million has been allocated to support services, rehabilitation and reablement care following discharge from hospital and ensuring that health and social care services are joined up.

The publication has also announced the start of the £700 million Targeted Investment Fund, ensuring that there is £250 million for new technology and £120 million for any supporting revenue costs, delivering a range of projects such as additional day surgery units, extra permanent and modular theatres and surgical hubs.

Funding has been allotted to regions on a weighted population basis with £69 million being prioritised for the South West. This is a targeted investment focused on the highest priority areas to help return elective care services to pre-pandemic levels.

With the rollout and acceleration of COVID-19 boosters alongside the largest influenza vaccine programme, the Government is doing more than ever to support people to stay well this winter and give people access to the services they need, when they need them.  

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