A&E and Beds Crisis Linked – and Forewarned!
West Cornwall MP, Andrew George, has today urged the Health Secretary to address the hospital beds shortage. Mr George, who is a member of the Parliamentary Health Select Committee, pointed to a campaign led by the NHS Confederation in May 2006 entitled “Why we need fewer hospital beds”. Since then, the number of acute hospital beds has been nearly halved. Mr George cautioned health chiefs at the time that without first frontloading primary care, out of hours services (out of hours GP services, NHS 111, mental health, minor injury units) and social services, reducing the number of acute hospital beds would create avoidable crises.
Mr George said, “Many seriously ill patients are currently unable to be admitted to acute hospital wards because there is an insufficient number of hospital beds. These have been cut by almost 50% in the past decade, leaving intolerable pressures at A&Es.
“Without investing in primary and social care, decreasing the number of acute hospital beds has contributed to the A&E crisis. As I suggested in 2006, we should not only build the capacity of primary and social care to take the strain off acute hospitals but those hospitals need to have the flexibility to manage with a small surplus of beds to withstand excessive pressures through A&E.