This Government recognises that winter, with demand placed on services with colder weather and seasonal flu, is a challenging time for the National Health Service as it is for health services around the world. Ministers meet weekly with our systems leaders in the NHS to ensure that our services are equipped for winter to support those who need them.
This year the Government has supported the NHS with more than £420 million of winter funding. Although we are at the start of the winter period, the latest published NHS winter operational updates show that in December there have been fewer ambulance handover delays and diverts to other accident and emergency’s compared to last year. This means ambulances spend less time at hospitals and more time on the roads reaching patients.
On 7 January 2019, I laid a written ministerial statement HCWS1232 which sets out our preparations to help the NHS this winter.