South Scotland

Winter health fund worth £2m for Dumfries and Galloway

A £2m contingency fund is in place to help cope with any surge in demand for health services in Dumfries and Galloway over the winter.

It is part of a wider strategy by the local health board to deal with seasonal pressure.

Jeff Ace, chief executive of NHS Dumfries and Galloway, said that demand for services was high last year, despite the mild winter.

He said that is partly because of the relatively large older population.

"The worrying thing about last year was that we had no significant flu, we had no real weather-driven admissions in terms of exceptionally cold weather and we still saw extremely high levels of emergency admissions," he said.

"Looking forward over the next 15, 20 years when we know that the demographic problem in Dumfries and Galloway in terms of an ageing population will really reach its peak, that's quite a salutary reminder to us that our winter planning has really to be top notch in this region.

"It's got to deliver a guarantee that we can keep patients moving safely through our system, through primary care, through acute care, on to care home provision if that's required or back to the patient's home."

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