The Government is providing the NHS with £250 million in an attempt to address problems at Accident and Emergency facilities and in GP surgeries as winter approaches.

As waiting times in A&E increase, more than a quarter of patients last month waited longer than four hours before being seen, according to the BBC. This situation is being seen, in part, as a result of increased difficulty in accessing face-to-face appointments with a GP. The new funding is intended to ease the problems by giving GP surgeries a chance to employ more staff on a temporary basis. This could include more locum doctors as well as other medical specialists.

The British Medical Association has expressed concerns about the adequacy of the rescue package and former health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, who now chairs the Health and Social Care Committee, observed that a big recruitment drive would be necessary and a sustainable plan to ‘fix workforce planning in the NHS for the long-term’.

Meanwhile, Professor Chris Whitty, England’s Chief Medical Officer, has commented that the NHS is facing an ‘exceptionally difficult’ winter.

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