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The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced £2.9 billion in funding to help strengthen care for vulnerable people in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Allocated to local authorities and the NHS, the funding will help patients who no longer need urgent hospital treatment to return home, making at least 15,000 beds available during the outbreak.

This funding boost comes following the £5 billion COVID-19 fund announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in last week’s budget, which is designed to help the NHS, local authorities and public services prepare for, and react to, the Coronavirus accordingly.

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In the new £2.9 billion boost, £1.6 billion will go to local authorities to help them respond to other COVID-19 pressures across all the services they deliver. This includes increasing support for the adult social care workforce and for services helping the most vulnerable.

The remaining £1.3 billion will be used to enhance the NHS discharge process so patients who no longer need urgent treatment can return home safely and quickly. This is expected to help free up 15,000 hospital beds across England and ensure more staff have capacity to treat people needing urgent care, including those being cared for with Coronavirus.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Our NHS and social care colleagues are at the heart of protecting the most vulnerable during the coronavirus outbreak, and the whole country is tremendously grateful for their commitment during this challenging time.

“This funding will help the NHS and social care services in our communities to rise to this once in a generation challenge by allowing the NHS to do what it needs to, and help move people out of hospital as soon as possible to get them back home with the right support.

“We are clear that we will do whatever it takes to protect lives and protect our NHS.”

Additionally, the funding will cover the 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, community settings, or care settings.

This latest investment is part of the UK Government’s commitment to ensure the NHS and social care system, and other public services, have all the resources they need during the COVID-19 outbreak. It has confirmed it will continue to monitor the Coronavirus situation and to keep reviewing future funding.

Local Government Secretary, Robert Jenrick said: “The work of local authorities to deliver social care and other vital public services has never been more important than it is now – and will be – in the days and weeks ahead.

“That’s why we’re giving local councils £1.6 billion of additional funding to spend where it’s needed most, to ensure they can meet the cost of the increased demand for social care, and continue to protect the most vulnerable people in society.”

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