HOSPITALS in Leeds are being given more than £5 million to prepare for winter, it has been announced.

Pudsey, Horsforth and Aireborough MP Stuart Andrew has welcomed news that Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is set to receive an additional £5.39 million to support its A&E capacity. He says the extra funding means the trust will be able to increase capacity, put enhanced infection prevention and control measures in place and make improvements to emergency care and urgent treatment services.

The government says it is providing £300 million to A&E departments across England, with work to be completed by the start of next year so hospitals can benefit from the upgrades during the peak of winter.

In June, the Prime Minister announced plans to accelerate £5 billion of infrastructure spending as part of his New Deal for Britain. The hospital funding forms part of the New Deal, which allocated a total of £1.5 billion this year for hospital maintenance, hospital building and A&E expansion.

The funding also comes on top of the additional £3 billion that the Prime Minister recently announced to help prepare the NHS for the winter months ahead. The government says the funding will allow the NHS to continue to use the extra hospital capacity acquired from the independent sector through the coronavirus pandemic, and also to maintain the Nightingale hospitals until the end of March next year.

Mr Andrew said: “Staff at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust have worked tirelessly over recent months, and I would like to personally thank them for everything they have done to get our community through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While we do hope for the best this winter, its right that we plan for the worst. This funding to upgrade A&E across the Trust will ensure that we are in the best possible position for the challenges that the winter months may bring.

“The NHS is my top priority and I was re-elected last December on a promise to deliver record NHS investment and level up the health service across the country. I am delighted to see the Conservatives in Government getting on with doing exactly that.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “These upgrades will help our fantastic NHS prepare for the winter months, helping them to deliver essential services and reduce the risk of coronavirus infections.

“Thanks to the hard work and tireless efforts of NHS staff throughout the pandemic, our A&Es have remained open for the public.

“It’s vital that those who need emergency treatment this winter access it, and for those who remain concerned about visiting hospitals, let me assure you that the NHS has measures in place to keep people safe.”