THE CRISIS CAUSED BY THE GOVERNMENT’S POLICY OF CLOSING NHS COMMUNITY HOSPITAL BEDS  

(And their zealous local Tory acolytes)

Lest we forget – Owl

From a correspondent:

Yet another report has revealed that patients are suffering because of delays in ambulances being able to discharge them into hospital beds. This means long delays when awaiting an ambulance: the very sick and injured, in category two, now have to wait for an average of more than 40 minutes. The target is 18 minutes. Quite simply, there are too few available beds and one reason for this is that at least 10 per cent of patients are “bed blocking”. They do not have access to “care packages” so cannot leave hospital. In many instances, the percentage is higher and in Gloucestershire  it is 29 per cent. With many others in East Devon,  I campaigned vigorously to defeat the government’s plan to remove dozens of beds in local and modern community hospitals. We failed: the consequences are painfully evident. Doubtless, this grim situation will be blamed on Covid but England has cut the total number of NHS beds from nearly 300,000 in 1987 to 141,000 in 2019, despite an increase in population from 47.3 million to 56.6 million with the elderly accounting for a higher share. The UK has fewer beds per thousand of population than most comparable countries in Western Europe. Many of us, even before Covid, warned that this grim situation could occur because of the government’s policy but we were ignored and damaging closures, especially in East Devon, were implemented.  

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