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Millions of pounds will be handed to councils across Essex as part of a new government scheme centred around getting hospital patients back home so that coronavirus patients can be treated faster.
Details of the £1.6billion emergency fund was announced by the government on Tuesday, with local authorities across the country benefitting from a share of the cash.
In Essex this will see Essex County Council benefitting significantly with £37.3million, while Southend Council will get £5.3million and Thurrock Council getting £4.3million.
The Department of Health says the aim is to cover follow-on care costs for adults in social care, or people who need additional support, when they are out of hospital and back in their homes.
The government estimates it will help to free up 15,000 hospital beds across England, ensuring more staff can treat people needing urgent care, particularly those with coronavirus.
Councillor Trevor Harp, who oversees health and adult social care, said: “We’re really pleased the government has released this extra funding so that we can continue to care for our most vulnerable residents and work with our NHS colleagues to free up hospital beds.
“Our Adult Social Care and Hospital social work teams are working hard to discharge people out of hospital where we can as the country prepares for the anticipated peak of the virus next week.
“I know our adult social care and community based care teams have also been working around the clock to provide the right care and support for every individual who needs it during these challenging times. That hard work will continue and we will continue to adapt as the situation changes in order to make sure that support is consistent.
“We have also set up Southend Coronavirus Action for those who need food or medication delivered to their home during self-isolation, or for anyone who feels they need additional support or care.”
An Essex County Council spokesman said: “The money allocated to Essex County Council from the Government’s emergency COVID-19 fund, will support key areas such as Adult and Children’s Social Care, tackling homelessness and supporting our communities.
“We’ve also put extra money into additional capacity in home and residential adult social care. We know that the safest place for the vast majority of people to be at the moment is at home and so we are investing additional resource to help those that can safely be discharged from hospital, with appropriate support measures in place. This will contribute to reducing unnecessary pressure on vital NHS services.”