SICK Brits are routinely being dumped in hospital corridors and temporary beds reserved for winter crises, an investigation reveals.
Medics warn a “critical” shortage of ward space is leading to cancelled ops and causing “unacceptable stress” to patients.
Healthcare chiefs warn that that calls for 10,000 more beds to ensure patients are kept safe in hospitals all year round must go hand in hand with more nurses[/caption]
It comes as health boss Simon Stevens this week admitted hospital bed cuts have now gone too far.
The NHS England Chief Executive called for trusts to reverse the trend.
Temporary “escalation” beds are only supposed to be used to deal with surges in demand, such as a flu outbreak.
But the investigation by the British Medical Association shows more were in use last month than at the height of winter.
WARDS IN OVERSPILL
It has called for an extra 10,000 beds to ensure patients get safe care all year round.
Wards should never be more than 85 per cent occupied.
This is to give staff time to clean beds, keep infections down and be able to move patients quickly.
But bed occupancy across the NHS was 91.7 per cent in March.
Enough is enough. The constant overwhelming pressure on our bed stock is unsustainable and if we wish to continue to give everyone the safe and caring hospital care they deserve we need urgent action
Dr Rob Harwood, British Medical Association
Speaking ahead of the BMA’s Annual Representative Meeting in Belfast, consultants committee chair Dr Rob Harwood, said: “The use of escalation beds is a sign that trusts are at a critical stage and are unable to cope with demand.
“Most worryingly, the intense pressure on beds can result in patients being placed on beds in corridors… causing unacceptable stress to the patient and their families.”
The number of hospital beds has fallen by more than half in the last 30 years – with less than 130,000 now available for overnight stays.
MORE NURSES NEEDED
Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, called for immediate action.
He said: “Enough is enough. The constant overwhelming pressure on our bed stock is unsustainable and if we wish to continue to give everyone the safe and caring hospital care they deserve we need urgent action.”
The BMA analysis found in early March, there were at least 3,428 escalation beds in operation across all 134 acute trusts in England.
Dame Donna Kinnair, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, said hospital bosses should only increase bed capacity if they have sufficient nursing staff to care for the people in them.
MOST READ IN HEALTH
Prostitute who earns £2,000 a week reveals the average penis size … and how much she enjoys work
‘HE WAS A STRANGER WITH NO ARMS’
A trip to dentist cost Tom his limbs, half his face and his mind… and now his sepsis horror is being turned into a movie
She said: “If they don’t, it cannot be done safely. Full-to-bursting hospitals, low on staff, are not places people want to be treated or work.”
An NHS spokesman said: “Local areas are looking at how many beds they will need to help them deliver the improvements in care we want to see.
“Where they identify a case for more beds, we will support them in seeking the capital investment to deliver this.”
Medics warn the NHS beds situation has hit crisis point as wards operate far beyond the 85 per cent occupancy rule to keep infections away[/caption]
Temporary beds are designed for emergencies such as a flu outbreak but the British Medical Association found more of them were used in May than at the height of winter[/caption]
- GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org