Patient safety

06.04.18

Over five hospitals’ worth of beds opened daily last winter, study finds

The new data briefing on NHS winter pressures makes it clear what a difficult winter this has been, the Nuffield Trust has said.

Over a fifth of patients (23%) spent more than four hours in A&E, compared with 21% last winter and just 6% in 2010-11.

One in eight ambulance handovers were delayed by more than 20 minutes, peaking at one in four on 2 January, and 3% of handovers were delayed by over an hour – this also peaked on 2 January at 9%.

General and acute bed occupancy was at a whopping 94.4%, and exceeded 90% for all but four days this winter, with an average of 20 trusts having over 99% occupancy each day.

On average the number of available beds dropped by 1,100 from last winter, although there were also 1,500 fewer bed days lost due to delayed discharges this winter.

In response to the report, the Nuffield Trust said: “Hospitals have been operating at alarmingly high occupancy levels, opening an average of five-and-a-half extra hospitals’ worth of beds every day this winter, and some trusts seeing 99 in every 100 beds full.

“At the same time ambulances have been queuing outside hospitals for worryingly long periods of time, with over one in eight ambulances delayed by more than half an hour in handing patients over to hospital.”

The think tank warned that behind these figures are stories of patients in pain and distress, as well as NHS staff members working in stressful and pressured conditions.

“We know that the NHS has been pulling out all the stops to keep the health service on the straight and narrow this winter,” it added.

“But with staff shortages widespread and funding tight, it has been doing this with the odds stacked against it.”

An NHS England spokesperson said: “As we have said before, in the face of a ‘perfect storm’ of prolonged bad weather, persistently high flu hospitalisation and spikes in norovirus, the NHS treated 160,000 more A&E patients within four hours during a challenging winter, compared with the previous year.

“The NHS also treated a record number of cancer patients over the most pressured months of the year.”

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an NHE columnist? If so, click here.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

Temporary registration granted to 11,800 doctors by GMC

27/03/2020Temporary registration granted to 11,800 doctors by GMC

Following an official request by the UK government, the General Medical Council (GMC) has granted temporary registration to 11,856 doctors who ha... more >
Matt Hancock: ‘We are more indebted than ever to NHS staff’

27/03/2020Matt Hancock: ‘We are more indebted than ever to NHS staff’

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has lauded NHS staff during his response to the healthcare service’s recently released workforce statistics, ... more >
Health Education England announce new Chief Executive

26/03/2020Health Education England announce new Chief Executive

Health Education England (HEE) have announced it will appoint Dr Navina Evans as the organisation’s new Chief Executive following a rigorou... more >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital e... read more >

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us th... more > more last word articles >

the scalpel's daily blog

How to help patients manage the psychology of chronic conditions

20/03/2020How to help patients manage the psychology of chronic conditions

Indie Dhariwal, Wellbeing Facilitator at Living Well Taking Control Living with a chronic condition puts huge pressure on both the body and mind. Not only can it prevent patients from doing activities they used to enjoy, but in many cases, patients suffer psychological distress. Considering how difficult and disabling chronic conditi... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

comment

NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

23/09/2019NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

Reason to celebrate as NHS says watching rugby can be good for your mental health and wellbeing. As the best rugby players in the world repr... more >
Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Being on the receiving end of some “thanks” can make communit... more >
Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

13/06/2019Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

Nurses have been named as the most under-appreciated public sector professionals as new research reveals how shockingly under-vauled our NHS, edu... more >
Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

10/06/2019Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

Peter Skitt, county director and commissioner for Ceredigion Hywel Dda University Health Board, looks ahead to the new integrated care centre bei... more >

interviews

Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

24/10/2019Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

Today, speaking at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) annual conference, Matt Hancock highlighted what he believes to be the three... more >
NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

17/09/2019NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

Over 20 years ago, a Teesside hospital cleaner put down her mop and took steps towards her midwifery dreams. Lisa Payne has been delivering ... more >
How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months,... more >
RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

24/10/2018RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

The president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has told NHE that the college’s new headquarters based in Liverpool will become a hu... more >

health service focus

View all News