BMA report highlights declining availability of hospital beds

Medical Government/ NHS related news

The number of available hospital beds is falling at a time when demand for NHS services is increasing, a new report has shown.

Analysis from the British Medical Association (BMA) has indicated that between 2006-07 and 2015-16, the number of overnight hospital beds has decreased by one-fifth. Whereas in 2000 there were an average of 3.8 beds per 1,000 people, this fell to 2.4 per 1,000 by 2015.

“Overnight hospital beds in England have decreased by one-fifth in the last decade, according to analysis from the BMA.“

In the first week of January 2017, almost three-quarters of NHS trusts had an occupancy rate of 95 per cent on at least one day of that week, while November 2016 saw 15 percent of patients spend more than four hours waiting for a hospital bed.

Pressure on mental health services has been particularly acute, with a 44 percent decrease in the number of mental health beds since 2000-01 - despite the current government having stated its commitment to improving mental health care on several occasions.

Dr Mark Porter, BMA council chair, said: "We need politicians to take their heads out of the sand and provide a sustainable solution to the funding and capacity challenges that are overwhelming the health service."

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