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Government has announced nearly £3 billion to help make more hospital beds available during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Department of Health and Social care has announced funding to help patients who no longer need urgent hospital treatment to return home.

The funding, which comes from the £5 billion COVID-19 fund, will make at least 15,000 beds available during the coronavirus outbreak.

Local authorities will receive £1.6 billion to help them respond to other coronavirus (COVID-19) pressures across all the services they deliver. This includes increasing support for the adult social care workforce and for services helping the most vulnerable, including homeless people.

A further £1.3 billion will be used to enhance the NHS discharge process so patients who no longer need urgent treatment can return home safely and quickly.

The funding will cover the follow-on care costs for adults in social care, or people who need additional support, when they are out of hospital and back in their homes, community settings, or care settings.

Enhancing the NHS discharge process will help free up 15,000 hospital beds across England and ensure more staff have capacity to treat people needing urgent care, including those being cared for with coronavirus.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said:

“Our £5 billion budget response fund is now being used to free up more beds in hospitals and ensure some of our most vulnerable people are getting the care they need. The government will continue to lay out comprehensive and coordinated responses to get this country through this situation.”

Local Government Secretary, Robert Jenrick said:

“The work of local authorities to deliver social care and other vital public services has never been more important than it is now – and will be – in the days and weeks ahead.

“That’s why we’re giving local councils £1.6 billion of additional funding to spend where it’s needed most, to ensure they can meet the cost of the increased demand for social care, and continue to protect the most vulnerable people in society.”

The government will continue to monitor pressures in the NHS and local government and will keep reviewing future funding.