Revealed: Hospital made ‘lunacy’ bed cuts before severe winter problems

Full story in The HSJ, 8 October 2018

A trust reduced its “core bed base” by nearly 40 in the run up to last winter, when its emergency department endured severe problems and intervention by inspectors, it has emerged.

The Dudley Group Foundation Trust confirmed to HSJ its “core bed base” dropped from 679 in June 2017 to 637 in December. However, a trust spokeswoman added that during winter, 44 escalation beds were available.

The figures show the core bed base remained below 640 until June this year, when it was increased to 669.

Royal College of Emergency Medicine vice president Chris Moulton told HSJ: “In terms of poor flow and long [accident and emergency] waits, A&E overcrowding closing beds is tantamount to lunacy.”