AN extra £1.5 million will be spent on health and social care services in Dudley this winter, to ease pressure as demand rockets with the cold weather.

Dudley Council cabinet members will debate the proposal to invest a one-off £1.5 million winter pressures grant from the government at the council's cabinet meeting on Thursday, December 6.

The extra money will be spent on increasing the amount of care and community equipment, boosting the number of social care assessors and the number of care hours available and increasing weekend cover and staff training.

According to council figures, the last 12 months show that of the 995 people seen by the community response team at the hospital’s A&E department, 87 percent avoided an unnecessary stay in hospital and were given the support they needed to return home.

There has also been a 92 percent reduction in the delayed discharge of people who are medically fit but in need of social care support at home, which exceeds all targets set by NHS England, according to the council.

Councillor John Martin, cabinet member for adult social care, said: "All of these initiatives combined are helping us to continue to meet the growing demands on social care and hospital services.

"We now need to move beyond one off funding to government sustainability funding these valuable services.

"The figures for the last 12 months speak for themselves. Our initiatives are working and are improving people’s experiences through the system. They are helping people avoid either an unnecessary stay in hospital or a delayed discharge, meaning hospital beds are free for those who need them most and we avoid bed-blocking the system.

"But there is always more we can do and I’m really pleased we’re able to invest further over the winter period when services are at their most stretched.”