Welsh Ministers have announced a new stabilisation package of £800m that will help support preparations for a second wave of COVID-19.
The new fund will support Welsh NHS organisations to help them prepare for the anticipated second wave of COVID-19 this winter. This will include responding to a potential second wave of the virus alongside normal winter pressures, as well as increasing access to essential services.
Finance Minister, Rebecca Evans, said: “We understand the growing financial pressures and challenges being faced across the public sector and we are doing all we can to alleviate these. I am confident that today’s announcement will provide our NHS with the stability it needs to respond to the pandemic. We are also continuing to work with local authorities to understand the considerable pressures they are facing and their priorities so that we can provide them with further support.”
What will the new funding support?
The funding, which will help Wales to continue to respond to and recover from the impact of the crisis, will be directed towards procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for key workers in the health and social care sectors, as well as primary care providers such as GPs, dentists, and optometrists.
It will also go toward the Welsh Government’s largest ever flu campaign to ensure more people will benefit from the programme in preparation for winter.
The announcement highlighted that, with the real possibility for further peaks of COVID-19 cases during the autumn and winter months, the funding package will ensure faster turnaround of test results to support contact tracing.
Health and Social Services Minister, Vaughan Gething, added: “Our health and social care services have faced unparalleled pressures in the fight against COVID-19. It is a testament to our dedicated NHS staff that Wales’ patients have continued to receive compassionate and professional care during this pandemic.
“Whilst our services rigorously prepare every year for winter pressures, 2020 may be unlike any other. This £800m package will help with many aspects as we move into the next phase of the virus such as PPE supplies, testing, and an ambitious flu vaccination programme.”
This new package takes the total amount of Welsh Government COVID-19 support for NHS organisations to more than £1.3bn.