Health Stabilisation Budget

Dawn Bowden MS said “I welcome this funding announcement for our Welsh NHS. It will allow the system to prepare for the uncertainties that lie ahead and give us further opportunities to tackle the impact of this virus”.

 

 

TITLE

 

Health Stabilisation Budget

DATE 5 August 2020
BY Minister for Finance and Trefnydd and Minister for Health and Social Services

 

The Welsh Government is today announcing a £800m stabilisation package to help the Welsh NHS to continue to respond to the impact of Covid-19. This latest package takes the total amount of Welsh Government Covid-19 support for NHS organisations to more than £1.3bn.

We recognise the massive and unprecedented challenges the pandemic is having on our health service in Wales. The funding will support NHS organisations across Wales to prepare for the anticipated challenges that winter will bring – responding to a potential second wave of the virus, alongside normal winter pressures – whilst continuing to further increase access to essential services.

We are actively working with the health service in Wales to understand the pressures they are facing and to assist them with their planning. The stabilisation package will enable a strategic approach to the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for both the health and social care sectors, so that an appropriate ‘buffer’ of supplies can be established to respond to any second wave of infections. It will also ensure that a reliable supply of PPE is available for primary care providers – including GPs, dentists and optometrists so that these health professionals have the protection they need to carry out their vital services.

With the real possibility for further peaks during the autumn and winter months this investment will ensure faster turnaround of test results to support contact tracing, so that Wales can respond rapidly to contain any spread of the virus. It will also ensure that health boards have sufficient capacity, both through existing hospital sites and access to field hospitals as a contingency, if needed. The funding package also includes our ambitious flu vaccination programme worth £11.7m announced on 24 July. This funding will ensure more people than ever benefit from the free flu vaccine programme in preparation for winter.

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.

This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish Ministers to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Senedd returns we would be happy to do so.

Childcare Offer for Wales to reopen

Dawn Bowden MS for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney said “I am pleased that the Welsh Government are able to restore our groundbreaking childcare offer here in Wales”.

Welsh Government has announced:

Wales’ Childcare Offer providing 30 hours of early education and care to the working parents of 3 and 4 year olds across Wales is set to reopen, Deputy Minister for Health and Social Care Julie Morgan has announced today [Tuesday 4 Aug].

The Childcare Offer was suspended in April to allow resources to be refocused, to support the childcare needs of critical workers and vulnerable children through the Coronavirus Childcare Assistance Scheme (C-CAS). As of the last week of the school term, just over 9,000 children were accessing this scheme.

As Wales moves to ease more lockdown restrictions and with schools set to return from September, the Offer will reopen for applications enabling families to start accessing the funded childcare.

Parents who would have been eligible for the Offer in the summer term, but who missed out on a full term because they had not started taking up the Offer before the pandemic, will be able to submit their applications from mid-August.

Applications from parents whose child becomes eligible for the Offer in the autumn term will be considered from the start of September onwards.

Details on the timing and how to apply will be available on local authority websites and through Family Information Services.

As before Covid-19, local authorities will also be able to make use of the Additional Support Grant to ensure any child with additional needs can benefit from the Offer in the same way as other children.

Later this week updated guidance will be published for childcare settings on how they can operate safely, taking into account the First Minister’s announcement on Friday [31 July] that children under 11 do not need to socially distance.

The Deputy Minister for Health and Social Care, Julie Morgan, said:

“We have been working with our partners in recent weeks to explore our options for restarting the Offer. I feel extremely indebted, especially to local authorities, for the way they have risen to the challenges of the past few months, administering the Coronavirus Childcare Assistance Scheme and supporting families with their very diverse and often complex needs.

“Childcare providers have been fantastic too, many of whom stayed open when the virus was at its most prevalent to ensure that critical workers were able to contribute effectively to the national effort against the pandemic.

“Many families will have suffered financial hardship as a result of Covid-19. Some workers will have been hit harder than others and we know that for many women childcare has been a real barrier in terms of their capacity to work. Bringing the Offer back will not only help parents, but it is crucial for providers too in supporting their businesses to recover after what has been a period of great uncertainty and anxiety for many.”

Funding childcare for 48 weeks of the year, the Offer has been available all over Wales since April 2019. By January 2020, 14,600 children were being support.

Playgrounds, funfairs and community centres can reopen from today

Playgrounds, funfairs and community centres in Wales can reopen from today.

Outdoor gyms will also be able to operate as part of the latest measures to lift Wales’ coronavirus restrictions.

This is the second of a three-week package of measures to re-open large parts of Wales’ tourism, hospitality and leisure sectors, which was announced as part of the latest 21-day review of the coronavirus regulations last week.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

“We continue to look carefully at the latest medical and scientific evidence and the current state of the virus as we make decisions to unlock our society and economy.

“With rates of the virus in Wales continuing to fall, we are able to carry on with our gradual, step-by-step lifting of the restrictions.

“From (today) Monday, playgrounds and outdoor gyms will be able to reopen. Community centres will be able to increase their activity, helping local authorities provide summer holiday play schemes and childcare.

“Funfairs will also be able to reopen as they have had time to consider how they can put appropriate measures in place before customers return. This follows the reopening of indoor and outdoor attractions in recent weeks. 

 “While the removal of these restrictions allows these places to reopen, it does not require them to. The specific timings for reopening may vary from place to place as owners take assessments and make any necessary changes.

“As we take these cautious steps, no one should make the mistake of thinking the virus has gone away. We could find our hard work quickly undone unless we all go on playing our part, every day, and in every way we can, to keep Wales safe.”

 The Welsh Government has previously asked a number of businesses to begin preparing to reopen from 27 July, if the conditions allow. These are:

  • Close contact services, including nail and beauty salons and businesses providing tanning services, massages, body piercings, tattooing, electrolysis or acupuncture.
  • Indoor cinemas, museums, galleries and archive services.
  • Tourist accommodation with shared facilities, such as camping sites. Opening would be from 25 July.
  • Reopening the housing market fully.

Provided the reopening of these sectors goes well and conditions allow, indoor opening for pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants will resume from 3 August, following the outcome of the next review of the coronavirus regulations.