More than 6,000 hospital beds lost leading to Medical Mistakes


6,000 NHS hospital beds have been lost since 2010. This has led to concerns over increased medical mistakes and medical negligence, as patients are discharged before they are fully recovered.

Hospital Complaints

Commentators are worried that the reduction in the quality of care for patients will lead to patients dying unnecessarily, or being forced to rely on A&E units when they suffer related complications.

Decreasing number of beds leads to risk of medical mistakes

The number of beds available in the NHS has fallen from 110,568 in 2010 to 104,011 in 2012. The figures show an average of 50 beds a week lost since 2010.

The decrease in beds available is said to be linked to a reduction in funding and resources for the NHS.

Reductions mean that elderly, frail or vulnerable patients are released from hospital before they have made a full recovery with discharges frequently happening in the middle of the night.

Patients relying on A&E after they are released too early

Official statistics also show an increase of more than 1 million people using A&E units in the last year. This is despite short staffing in the units and a fear of collapse.

Patients are said to be relying on A&E units after they are released too early from hospital, in order to free up bed space.

Patients forced to wait in ambulances

Due to the lack of beds available, hospitals have been unable to take patients in from ambulances. There have been queues of ambulances with patients needing critical care, waiting outside of hospitals for beds to become available.

In turn, the backlog of patients in ambulances has caused an increase in ‘black breaches’, which means that 999 calls cannot be answered or answered as quickly, as ambulances are already being used.

Cutting funding leads to increase in medical mistakes

Earlier in the year, Andrew Frazer, chairman of the Royal College of Nursing’s emergency care association, said: “Across Britain we have cut beds in order to save money. We did that with the mantra that we will get more efficient but that hasn’t matched up.”

Dr Peter Carter, of the Royal College of Nursing has called for more money and resources to be put into community care services. Without this, removing beds will continue to create backlog problems and a decrease in the quality of patient care.

The news of a decrease in beds follows a number of reported stories of overstretched and under-qualified NHS and temporary NHS staff.

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