Hospital bed occupancy hit 95% in December

Hospital bed occupancy hit 95% in December

Hospital bed occupancy hit 95% in December

A hospital that can not ensure its patients are safe: was that really what the creators of the National Health Service envisaged when it was established 70 years ago this month?

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The unprecedented step was made in the grip of a winter "crisis", which has also been denied by an NHS chief - despite the "extremely hard circumstances" placed on A&E units across the country.

NHS England figures reveal hospitals are now at 91.7% capacity - much higher than what's considered to be a safe limit of 85%.

All 489 of the beds Walsall Manor Hospital were full on five of the seven nights from December 25. One significant issue - bed-blocking - has been talked about for years and yet continues to be a headache for hospitals.

It is not the fault of the hospitals nor their over-worked staff.

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Butler-Smith posted a picture of the ambulances waiting outside A&E to Facebook when she noticed that ambulance staff appeared concerned about the delays in handing over patients. As long as patients aren't paying for their own care, they will tend to demand more of it than necessary.

More than 4,700 people were delayed for more than an hour.

A number of ambulance services are also under severe pressure, with two even resorting to taxis to ferry patients to hospital.

NHS bosses in Lincolnshire are warning people to expect long waits at A&E departments across the county due to extra pressure.

"These figures show once again the challenges they are tackling".

Helen Ray, executive managing director of operations at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "Over the festive period, we have had higher bed occupancy rates in comparison to previous years in line with hospitals up and down the country".

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Estimates from the King's Fund, Health Foundation and Nuffield Trust suggests NHS funding is at least £4bn below what is needed this year - and that's set to rise to at least £20bn by 2022/23.

"Along with colleagues in social and community care we need to ensure that the patients in our hospitals who are medically fit to leave are able to get the care packages in place to go home or move to the next stage of their care".

"We have opened up additional capacity as we had planned to in order to meet the demand at this busy time of year".

"But in the short term, our health service desperately needs a cash injection - by just putting a penny on income tax, an extra £6bn a year could be raised for the NHS and social care".

Similar to trusts in England, NHS Lanarkshire has also had to postpone certain non-emergency procedures because of the mass surge in demand.

Instead, Butler-Smith told BuzzFeed News she waited in the ambulance with her mother and sisters for approximately four hours before a specialist nurse came out and urgently admitted the elderly woman for a brain scan to assess the severity of her stroke.

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"The RCN has been warning of under-investment in nursing posts for several years - now that underlying problem has developed into a full-blown crisis. We will continue to work closely with our staff, all hospitals and other NHS partners in our area to reduce delays".

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