Cambridgeshire County Council has been granted £520,000 of Government funding to reduce delays in getting patients out of hospital and into residential homes or at home with provided care, which is one of the reasons the NHS has been put under strain, both financial and medical, over the winter period. In Huntingdonshire, eight beds, due to revert to permanent care from the beginning of April, will remain open for a further month, meaning the district will continue to have 18 beds for short-term social care, which will cost up to £97,000. A further £26,000 will be given to specialist voluntary groups to extend their range of support when patients leave Hinchingbrooke and Addenbrookes hospitals, including shopping, cleaning and providing information and advice. In addition, a senior social worker will be appointed to focus on reducing bed blocking in Hinchinbrooke and Peterborough City hospitals. The social worker will assess patients with complex needs and provide support to other social workers and professionals. The council will also spend £45,000 on expanding live-in care, £105,000 on increasing social work capacity to reduce delays, a further £32,000 on occupational therapy and £90,000 on enhancing care at home. The funds must be spent by April 20, but some pilot schemes could be extended if successful. Cllr Sandra Rylance, chairman of the councils adults committee, said: Concerted work by the county council with its partners has already reduced the levels of transfers that are delayed for social care reasons, so this funding will be used to sustain and further improve performance.