She said “I welcome David Cameron’s announcement that the Government will be providing an extra £500 million to ease pressure on A&E departments. I understand the concern there is about A&E services which is why I recently visited Barnet A&E to discuss the situation with doctors and patients there.”

“Over one million more people are visiting A&E compared to 3 years ago and the harsh winter we experienced last year piled on the pressure as well. The Prime Minister has responded to worries expressed about A&E services. Today’s announcement of additional funding is just one of a number of initiatives underway to seek to ensure that people can access high quality care when they visit an NHS emergency department.”

Various ideas for how to use this funding are being considered by different hospitals. These include:

• minimising the need for care home residents to visit A&E by appointing a hospital specialist in charge of joining up services for the elderly;

• increased hours at walk-in centres;

• more intermediate care beds; and

• extension to pharmacy services so there is more flexibility as to when patients can be discharged from hospital, freeing up beds for new patients.

The hospitals that will receive this funding have not yet been identified.