NHS England today confirmed £150m will be taken from its expected surplus to ease winter pressures on more accident and emergency departments this year.

HSJ exclusively reported on Wednesday that extra funding would be made available to all trusts, beyond the 53 who were awarded a share of a separate £250m fund announced in September.

The 53 trusts which received a share of the £250m agreed to be performance managed closely by either Monitor or the NHS Trust Development Authority.

However, an NHS England spokesperson said that the same scrutiny would not be applied to any trust that receives part of the £150m.

The money will be allocated to 157 clinical commissioning groups to distribute and the amount each area receives will depend on the size of its population. Urgent care working groups will be responsible for deciding where the money is distributed.

Every trust is expected to vaccinate at least 75 per cent of their staff against the flu this year. Trusts which fail to meet this target will not be given any winter money in 2014-15 unless they can prove to the TDA, Monitor and NHS England that they have “robust” plans in place to meet the target next year.

According to NHS England, the majority of the £250m has so far been spent in three main areas – staffing, care pathways and community care, all in an attempt to reduce unnecessary A&E admissions.

NHS England chief operating officer and deputy chief executive Dame Barbara Hakin said: “Last winter was a tough one for the NHS so this year we started preparing earlier than ever before, with an extra £250m given to those local systems in greatest need to support them over winter.

“To support those systems not deemed most at risk, NHS England will be distributing a further £150m to help them maintain services and reduce the pressure on A&Es caused by cold weather. 

She added: “We know that our A&E departments are trusted by the public and we are determined to maintain the high standards that patients have come to expect.  We will now keep a very close eye on the position so that we can ensure there is a quick response should any issues arise.” 

Foundation Trust Network chief executive Chris Hopson welcomed the additional funding but called for long-term solutions. He said: “Looking longer term, this money wouldn’t be necessary if urgent and emergency NHS care was properly and fully funded. Many hospitals are only paid 30 per cent of the cost of many of their emergency admissions and community, mental health and ambulance trusts are being required to deal with increasing demand with fewer resources.”