Exclusive: NHS needs 5,000 more beds, warn leading A&E doctors

The NHS needs at least 5,000 more beds to achieve safe bed occupancy levels and hit the four hour waiting time target, according to a report by senior medics shared exclusively with HSJ.

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine winter flow project said the NHS needed to add to its 130,000 beds to “combat exit block, overcrowding in emergency departments [and to] maintain flow through the system”.

The college’s report tracked performance of 50 trusts running 60 sites across the UK between October 2016 and March 2017 on a weekly basis. It also found some trusts saw their four hour waiting performance drop to under 50 per cent over winter, against the 95 per cent target.

The vast majority of the sites were in England (50), with two from Scotland, five from Wales and three in Northern Ireland. The trusts, which the RCEM said were representative of the sector, provided the data on the condition of anonymity.

Article from HSJ, 7 July 2017