Calls for backing fund for campaign to reduce pressure at Pembrokeshire hospitals made by senior councillors

By Bruce Sinclair

A CALL for Welsh Government to provide a £2.5m backing to an emergency campaign to support and reduce pressure at Pembrokeshire hospitals, has been made by senior councillors.

At the February meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet, members considered a report on Operation Nightingale (OpNG23), an emergency social care campaign launched by the council and partners to reduce the current pressure in local hospitals.

The campaign’s aim is to reduce the number of patients who are ready to leave hospital but who need care or support in order to return home and make a full recovery.

Work being carried out by the council includes the short-term deployment of staff into community support, open and fast-track recruitment drives, and creating extra social work capacity.

Cabinet members received an update on Operation Nightingale, along with early costings to maintain it.

Members heard it was likely to cost up to £2.5m next year.

“Delivery of Operation Nightingale 23 is anticipated to cost £0.593m in 2022-23 and £2.479m in 2023-24. Due to this being an emergency response the chief executive has proposed that for 2022-23 it is funded from the Social Care Equalisation Reserve.

“For 2023-24, it is hoped that Welsh Government will fund Operational Nightingale 23, but if this funding is not forthcoming, the chief executive has proposed that it is funded from the Social Care Equalisation Reserve or the Hardship Fund Reserve.”

Cabinet Member for Corporate Finance Councillor Alec Cormack said: “The situation of the NHS in Pembrokeshire had got to the point we needed to this action; this is a symptom of a national problem.”

He warned there would be a need to “get round the table” if addition Welsh Government funding was not forthcoming.

Cabinet Member for Social Care and Safeguarding Councillor Tessa Hodgson said: “It is a national problem; as local authorities in Pembrokeshire – and across Wales – we are already doing everything humanly possible to support our vulnerable people to get care.”

Cabinet agreed to note the report on OpNG23 – with a further progress report provided for Cabinet in April – and agree that a business case and request for funding is made to Welsh Government for one year funding at an estimated cost of £2.5m.

Cabinet also agreed that – should there be a shortfall – a further report is presented to cabinet to consider options.

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