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The Scottish Government is investing an additional £10 million to help patients avoid a hospital stay wherever possible and to prevent delayed discharge for inpatients.

This is part of a range of actions included in the £300 million winter package of funding to health and social care services, and outlined in the health and social care winter plan, to take the pressure off hospitals and frontline staff.

Two new programmes – Interface Care and Discharge without Delay – will support NHS Boards to explore alternatives to hospital inpatient care where appropriate, and improve the discharge process for those who do need to be admitted to hospital.

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Interface Care, backed by an additional £6 million this financial year, will deliver safe, high-quality care as an alternative to hospital admission, or will support early hospital discharge. The programme will be implemented by early winter.

Discharge without Delay, supported with a further £4 million, will improve pathways through hospital settings, reducing inpatient length of stay and building bed capacity. Working with patients, families and/or carers, it will ensure patients are treated in their home where appropriate, the government says.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “This winter is likely to be the most challenging in the history of the NHS, and it’s important we take urgent action to ensure our hospitals and emergency frontline staff are not overwhelmed. That’s why these actions to improve the discharge process, and redirect patients who don’t need to be in hospital, are so important.

“I am confident that through our collective investment in people, capacity and systems to deliver the right care in the right setting, we can improve outcomes for those of us who need to use our health and social care services.”

Earlier this year, Scotland’s Programme for Government confirmed a record investment of £2.5 billion for NHS Scotland.

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