NHS set to get £250 million to open 900 new hospital beds to cut waits
The NHS is set to receive £250 million to open 900 new hospital beds in a drive to cut waiting times
- The funding comes as part of a plan to cut patient wait times across the UK
The NHS will receive £250million to open 900 more hospital beds in a drive to cut waiting times and ease pressure on emergency care this winter.
The funding forms part of a plan to increase capacity so ambulances can drop off patients at A&E faster and respond rapidly to new calls.
But health leaders last night expressed concerns that some of the beds will not be available until January – which could be too late to avert another crisis.
Last winter, callers faced record waits for ambulances as a shortage of beds meant paramedics were left queuing outside hospitals to drop off patients.
Thirty NHS organisations across England will benefit from the new capital investment. It will be used to develop or expand urgent treatment centres and same-day services, allowing patients to be seen quickly without being admitted to hospital.
(Stock Photo) The NHS will receive £250million to open 900 more hospital beds in a drive to cut waiting times
(Stock Photo) Health leaders last night expressed concerns that some of the beds will not be available until January
The schemes will also include more care beds, assessment spaces and cubicles in A&E.
Rishi Sunak said: ‘Cutting waiting lists is one of my top five priorities, so this year the Government has started planning for winter earlier and the public can be reassured we are backing the NHS with the resources it needs.
‘These 900 new beds will mean more people can be treated quickly, speeding up flow through hospitals and reducing waits for treatment.’
The NHS urgent and emergency care recovery plan, published in January, committed to providing more than 5,000 additional permanent, fully staffed hospital beds in total by this winter.
The Government said the 900 beds announced yesterday were part of this commitment and the NHS expects the majority of schemes would be completed by January.
Those expected to benefit include west London’s Northwick Park Hospital which will receive £22.6million to open a 32-bed cabin-style modular ward, and Peterborough City Hospital, which will get £12.5million to place 72 beds in unused non-clinical space.
Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of NHS England, said: ‘Winter is a busy time for the NHS and so it is right we put plans in place as early as possible to boost capacity and help frontline staff prepare for additional pressure.’
(Stock Photo) The funding forms part of a plan to increase capacity so ambulances can drop off patients at A&E faster and respond rapidly to new calls
Miriam Deakin, from NHS Providers, said trusts would welcome the additional support and the increased bed numbers ‘could close the gap between capacity and demand, meaning patients could be seen sooner’.
But she added: ‘This is just one piece of a much larger puzzle.
‘Not only will these new beds need to be staffed, but issues including workforce shortages, lack of investment in capital and the need for social care reform will hinder progress unless addressed.
‘As winter is the busiest time of the year for urgent and emergency care, trust leaders will be very concerned that this extra capacity is only expected to be in place by January. For the best results, trusts would need these new beds before winter begins.’
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