BLACKBURN’S A&E department will receive a £6million boost as part of a government hospitals scheme.

Twenty-five A&E departments across the country will be receiving a combined fund of £150m to allow hospitals to increase space, manage patient flow and improve infection control.

The £150m is new investment on top of £300m that was already promised for 117 trusts to upgrade their facilities.

The fund, which was announced by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, will be spent on expanding waiting areas and increasing the number of treatment cubicles in a bid to boost A&E capacity by providing additional space and reducing overcrowding.

Projects will be completed by the start of next year so hospitals benefit from the upgrades during the peak of winter.

Mr Hancock said: “We are investing £450m to make sure our A&E departments are ready for winter.

“Hospitals around the country will be able to expand and upgrade to ensure they can continue safely treating patients in the coming months.

“We all need to play our part by washing our hands regularly, using a face covering and keeping our distance from those not in our household.

“We are determined to protect the NHS as we did during the peak.”

Responding to the good news, Andrew Stephenson, MP for Pendle, said “Last September I was delighted to attend the ground breaking ceremony for a £10m expansion of Royal Blackburn Hospitals A&E, so this further £6m is great news for our local area.

“I will continue to work with East Lancashire Hospital Trust to ensure we get our fair share of the unprecedented level of NHS funding the government has announced.”

Alongside this, a new scheme is being piloted in trusts across England, with NHS 111 being the first point of contact for a person accessing urgent medical care.

At the moment, Blackpool is the only part of Lancashire which is included in the pilot scheme and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS trust are asking that people do not start following the new procedures until the scheme is live in their area.

The NHS 111 scheme will be used to push patients in the right direction for the most clinically appropriate service to reduce pressure on A&E departments in winter. The 111 teams will refer patients to the most appropriate care. including emergency departments, an urgent treatment centre, a GP or a mental health professional.Based on what works best during the pilots, this approach will be rolled out to all Trusts from December this year. To support this expansion The NHS is investing £24m to increase 111 call handling capacity. and will have more clinicians on hand to provide expert advice and guidance.

Those facing a life-threatening emergency should continue to dial 999 immediately.

If someone is unsure how serious a condition is then NHS 111 can offer advice and if necessary, dispatch an ambulance.