Following a report released today by the King’s Fund on declining bed numbers in the NHS, Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said:
“Bed reduction and fast turnover is a major risk to patients across the NHS, with hospital-acquired infection rates increased by over-occupancy and quick turnarounds.
“This ultimately leads to a reduction in the quality of overall care and results in compromises such as cleaning spaces between patients and increased risk of emergency readmission.
“We have seen the majority of hospitals just about cope by squeezing length of stay to the lowest it has been but as beds shut it will become virtually impossible to safely decrease this any further.
“Further decline in hospital beds will have huge impact on how clinicians work at the ‘front door’ at a time when flow through the whole hospital system is crucial to the sustainability of services when under extreme pressure.”