Number of NHS beds has halved in 30 years, major study warns
Reported in The Telegraph (29 September 2017): The number of NHS beds has fallen by half in 30 years, and plans for further cutbacks are “unrealistic” and should be stopped, a major study warns.
The King’s Fund report warns that NHS proposals to slash bed numbers are “undesirable” and “unachievable” at a time when mounting pressures have left many hospitals “stretched to breaking point”. The study shows that hospitals in England have the least beds for their population compared with any other country in the European Union, with just 2.3 per 1,000 people, compared with an EU average of 3.7. Overall, bed numbers have dropped from 299,000 to 142,000 since 1987, at a time when the population has risen by 16 per cent, with the number of pensioners up by one third.