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Trust needs 200 extra beds to meet winter demand and dodge 120% occupancy rate

Worcestershire Acute Hospital NHS Trust has said it won’t have enough beds to cope this winter and needs a dramatic capacity increase of 208 more beds.

The facility says it needs to increase its current bed numbers by a third to reach a sustainable bed occupancy rate of 92% or less with the national recommended level. Without any additional interventions, trust board papers show, the average expected occupancy for the unit would be 120% for the winter period.

In June this year, chief inspector of hospitals at the CQC Professor Ted Baker said more needed to be done with the progress of the trust after it was placed into quality special measures in 2015. The trust, like many others around the country, will be preparing for more record-high patient levels during winter this year.

Dame Julie Moore— who joined the Worcestershire board at the special-measures trust, after an esteemed career which included the creation of the largest teaching hospitals trust in England— will be looking to bring her experience to the role as it looks to manage soaring demand in the coming months.

The trust’s winter plan noted that if winter measures were implemented and successful, the demand for extra beds would range between 60 and 95 beds.

“In line with national guidance the additional funding available to CCGs in 2018-19 is to be utilised to enable health systems to fund and plan in a way that improves A&E performance in 2018-19. The CCGs have agreed £3.5m for 2018-19 to support Winter Planning,” the winter plan said.

“As part of the winter planning allocation this will support any associated non-recurrent transition costs through additional activity as capacity is increased in-line with the Future of Acute Hospital Services in Worcestershire business case.”

The winter plan noted that a joint plan will be agreed for this funding, which is intended to support additional activity.

Earlier this week the government announced that NHS trusts across the country will receive more than £145m to cope with winter demand.

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