The Prime Minister has announced that struggling A&E units are to be awarded £500 million in additional funding over the next two years to help support emergency wards during busy winter periods.

The funding is to be targeted at the most pressurised A&E departments to bring down long waiting times and help them to cope with the rising numbers of people visiting emergency wards - over 1 million more people than three years ago.

The funding also aims to ensure other patients will get the care, prescriptions or advice they need without going to A&E, and will support the non-emergency “111” telephone service.

Today’s announcement follows a Commons Health Select Committee report published two weeks ago which raised concerns about the NHS’ crisis plans to cope with a high flow of patients during the winter. However doctors have challenged the measure by saying that the government is guilty of "papering over the cracks".

Growing demand for emergency services is a significant problem

Linda Millband, a clinical negligence specialist from Thompsons Solicitors, said: “The growing demand for emergency services is a significant problem which looks set to continue. Throwing money at it is one answer and politically the PM is doing what he needs to be seen to be doing, but it's a sticking plaster.

“At Thompsons we see many examples of clinical negligence which start in A&E because of the pressure they are under and therefore any measures which increase the prospects of safe and reliable emergency care quickly are to be welcomed.

“This cash injection is beneficial in the short term, however a long term solution must be sought to ensure the already stretched NHS services have the capacity to deliver safe and reliable treatment all year round.”