The HSE Winter Plan was launched on Thursday 14 November. The aim of the Winter Plan is to ensure that service providers are prepared for the additional external pressures associated with the winter period, including the prolonged holiday period, severe winter weather, seasonal influenza, and the spread of norovirus and other healthcare associated infections.
Nine Winter Action Teams, each aligned to a Community Healthcare Organisation and associated acute hospitals and Hospital Groups, have prepared Integrated Winter Plans. These plans focus on demand management and reduction, staffing availability, timely access to the most appropriate care pathway for patients, and appropriate timely discharge from acute hospitals.
The HSE Winter Plan is supported by an additional €26m in winter funding nationally. This winter funding will support access to the Fair Deal scheme and will provide additional home support and transitional care to facilitate timely hospital discharge and reduce congestion in EDs over the winter period.
The National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) has agreed to support the funding of additional beds for three months over the winter period. This initiative will support the commitment by the HSE and my Department to alleviate winter pressures. Hospitals have been invited to make submissions to the NTPF and the NTPF are currently examining these proposals.