BARNSLEY Hospital’s accident and emergency department is set to receive £3.9m from the government to prepare for the first post-Covid winter.

The funding was announced on Tuesday as part of the government’s measures to upgrade hospital infrastructure and reduce the risk of further outbreaks.

Barnsley’s cash, part of a £300m pot spread across 117 NHS Trusts, will see it expand waiting areas and increase numbers of treatment cubicles, reducing overcrowding and making infection control easier. Barnsley Central MP and Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis told the Chronicle he welcomed the announcement ahead of ‘what will undoubtedly be extremely tough winter months’.

“Throughout this pandemic, our NHS staff on the frontline of this virus have worked tirelessly to save lives and protect communities,” he said.

“My heartfelt thanks and gratitude goes out to them all.

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“This winter, with the added strain of Covid-19 on top of the usual seasonal pressures, will be the most challenging our NHS has faced in living memory. I have long campaigned on the issue of tackling excess winter deaths and supporting our NHS through the winter months.

“That’s why I’m calling on the Government to take decisive action - immediately - right across our NHS to ensure that all frontline services have the resources they need.”

Barnsley East MP Stephanie Peacock said any new money going into the NHS was ‘welcome’, adding: “After years of starving our NHS of cash extra investment is badly needed.

“The Covid crisis has seen operations cancelled and people waiting longer for treatment.

“I’m very worried that we are heading into a difficult winter and I’ll keep pushing for our local health service to get the investment in staff and services needed to deliver the best care possible.”

Miriam Cates, MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, said: “The NHS has done a fantastic job during this pandemic in some of the most difficult circumstances.

“Their care and dedication has been exemplary, and the government is committed to ensuring that the NHS has the resources it needs to cope with the additional pressures that winter will bring.

“By targeting investment in patient services we have been able to protect the NHS from being overwhelmed by the coronavirus.

“This money will continue that task, and make sure that we are in the best possible position ready for the winter.

“Investing in hospitals and levelling up the services available here in Barnsley is an important part of our long term plan to fund the NHS and make sure that it can continue to deliver fantastic treatment to everyone who needs it.”

It comes alongside news that treatment for South Yorkshire’s Covid-19 patients will now be centralised in the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield, which will free up beds in district general hospitals such as Barnsley.

A spokesperson for Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are delighted that Barnsley Hospital has been allocated funding.

“This is great news for the people of Barnsley and our patients and staff.”