South West running out of beds – a matter of geography says Sir Simon Stevens

Earlier in the Week the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, justified the South West having to lockdown because the NHS would be overwhelmed.

Last night on BBC Spotlight Sir Simon Stevens, Head of the NHS, was introduced as having an explanation for why the South West might be on the verge of running out of beds. (about 2mins 30 sec here but link expires 1900).

He said that it was a matter of Geography. Torbay now has more cases than in April and the geography of the South West means that there are quite long distances between, say, Truro and Plymouth and to Bristol. Whereas in a place like Liverpool, if Liverpool hospitals become very, very busy then their cancer patients can be looked after in a cancer specialist hospital just across the  road. That’s just not possible across big parts of the South West.

No Sir Simon, the real explanation is that the South West has the lowest number of critical care beds per head of population. There are simply not enough beds anywhere compared to the rest of the country, either just across the road or up in far flung Bristol