Additional funding for NHS winter resilience

£8.4 million to support different ways of working in winter

NHS Boards will receive an additional £8.4 million for resilience this winter ahead of the busy Christmas and New Year period.

The funding supports implementation of Sir Lewis Ritchie’s report on public holiday working across health and social care, published today, which outlines a range of recommendations that will support people to transfer seamlessly through the system without delay. These include:

  • well-co-ordinated, multidisciplinary urgent health and social care provision across the whole care system
  • sufficient levels and numbers of senior decision makers from all sectors rostered
  • NHS 24 providing enhanced support for self-management and direction to the right service where needed
  • promoting community pharmacies as a source of advice and medicines
  • proactive discharge planning in advance of public holidays

The emerging findings have been shared in the past few months across the NHS and have already been incorporated into winter planning. This will provide an additional platform for health boards and integration authorities to align existing practices and staffing to support optimum access to services over public holiday periods.

Total investment for health and social care services to deal with winter pressures and unscheduled care will now be a record high of £22.4 million this year.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said:

“This additional funding, a record level for any one year, will help the provision of services throughout Christmas and New Year. 

“We expect challenges over winter and NHS boards are coping well with the demands placed on them so far. Thousands of NHS, social care, independent and third sector staff work extremely hard on public holidays and throughout the year, providing a lifeline of care and support to patients across Scotland.  

“Boards have already made progress implementing the recommendations Sir Lewis and his team put forward in their planning and preparation this winter. Going forward I would expect partnership and professional organisations to be fully engaged in the design and delivery of all planned changes to services and the workforce.   

“Sir Lewis’s report, supported by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, the Royal College of GPs and the National Out of Hours Group amongst others, highlights that we are on the right track in prioritising service change at local level and that community pharmacies and NHS 24 are available  throughout winter to keep people healthy.”

Sir Lewis Ritchie said: “Getting urgent and emergency care right is of paramount importance for the people of Scotland and for those who provide care for them. Significant progress is already underway - our report calls for further rapid and cohesive whole system action. We will need to do this with resolve to do this well, and to do this together.”

David Chung, Vice-President Royal College of Emergency Medicine Scotland (RCEM) says: RCEM Scotland would like to thank Scottish Government for its willingness to acknowledge, and attempt to moderate the effects of public holidays on health and social care in Scotland. This exercise has only been possible through the combined efforts of many collaborating to provide guidance for the system, and we are grateful to everyone for engaging and giving their time and expertise to this issue. We hope it will be one of many such collaborative efforts to provide the best health and social care for Scotland in times to come.”


Improving Health and Social Care Service Resilience over Public Holidays

The report was commissioned following the Royal College of Emergency Medicine Scotland (RCEM) calling for a review of the resilience of all urgent care services over public holidays, primarily prolonged Christmas and Easter festival periods, recognising increased pressures on these services.

Professor Sir Lewis Ritchie chaired the Review that was carried out in partnership with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, RCN, BMA, other professional bodies, Health Boards and Integration Joint Boards.


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