NHS trust minimum beds to increase in new medical model

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Hospitals must add four to six beds by the end of March Fourteen NHS trusts are now being told to increase the number of critical care beds on…

NHS trust minimum beds to increase in new medical model

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Hospitals must add four to six beds by the end of March

Fourteen NHS trusts are now being told to increase the number of critical care beds on their wards within weeks in a new policy for the new year.

Funding for the beds, to be addressed in a new Clinical Commissioning Group report, are not known.

Some hospitals have already run out of ICU beds and the shortage has been partly blamed for poor staff morale.

The plan may not have been drawn up before Christmas, when hospitals are set to resume unplanned rotas.

Currently, the overall number of hospital beds in England stands at a postwar low, at 6,973, according to a survey of the NHS.

The number of beds has been falling every year for the past six.

Pioneering

All hospitals in England are now implementing the Designing for Longevity (DFL) programme – introduced under the prime minister’s flagship health and social care reform.

This has adopted the ‘hospitals to community’ model of care, which separates medical care from healthcare to care in the community.

Hospitals are using the ‘medical only’ strategy, but they are now being told they must simultaneously increase the number of hospital bedens to ensure they do not leave people who can’t manage the dual care schemes.

A specific number of critical care beds on wards will be set out in a new GP plan submitted to councils.

“Doctors are responsible for providing the patient with the best possible care and they know the difference it makes in ensuring that people can survive,” said Dr Nick Scriven, from the Royal College of Surgeons.

“After all, critical care is one of the key measures of the welfare of that patient.”

‘Hospital bed shortage ‘

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “Funding is available to help trusts with critical care across all areas of the NHS, including in the future provision of intermediate care in the community.

“The Royal College of Surgeons has been at the forefront of developing design for lifecycles.

“It is right that it is the professional responsibility of surgeons to ensure that people do not fall through the health and social care system.”

Hospitals have been told to try to save patients from unnecessary hospital admission, using drugs, dialysis and alternative treatments.

The patients may end up on home care or in a nursing home instead.

Other initiatives include having nurses on all wards, to reduce hospital accidents; bringing the elderly in to their own homes when appropriate; and changing all the bedding in hospitals to make it comfortable.

Thirteen A&E departments and 153 hospitals have been given tailored short-term improvement plans for the New Year.

They will be updated on a weekly basis to show that patients are safe.

Up to one million patients a year are suffering serious accidents in the hospital A&E department or other NHS wards.

Other NHS reforms

Another ‘ill-designed idea’ of the coalition government is to assign employment to the first 1,000 doctors within a department.

However, over the past year more doctors have left departments than are joining them.

This is because of concerns about pay, career progression and training as well as concerns about their ability to help patients.

NHS England says it is introducing a new scheme that puts patients first and points to the freedom of choice and autonomy that staff want to be able to have over working in the NHS.

The Future of the NHS at 20 has been published. A new comprehensive review of the NHS will be carried out in March.

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