William Eichler 24 June 2019

Thousands of overspill beds being used for routine care, report says

Thousands of overspill beds being used for routine care, report says image

Hospital beds that are supposed to be used only during emergencies and periods of high demand are being utilised for routine care, an investigation has revealed.

Freedom of Information requests to hospital trusts by the BMA has found that 3,428 escalation beds were in use across all 134 trusts at the end of winter, with 1,637 of these still in use by 1 May in 80 of the trusts.

‘Escalation beds’ are supposed to be reserved for emergencies and periods of high demand only.

‘The use of escalation beds is a sign that trusts are at a critical stage and are unable to cope with demand with their current bed stock,’ said BMA consultants committee chair Rob Harwood.

The BMA has previously said that an extra 10,000 beds need to be found if the health service is to be able to guarantee year-round safe care

‘Some hospitals are forced to designate their theatre recovery beds as “escalation”, resulting in elective surgical operations being cancelled as there is no space for those patients who need immediate care after their surgery,’ continued Mr Harwood.

‘I have heard of other cases where beds in day procedure units – surgical units for patients who can have their operation and return home on the same day – are used as escalation spaces for admitting patients for longer ward-style care, meaning healthcare staff cannot continue with routine day care surgical cases.

‘Most worryingly, the intense pressure on beds can result in patients being placed on beds in corridors or in bits of other facilities, sometimes cramping treatment areas and causing unacceptable stress to the patient and their families.

‘It is obvious in these circumstances that there are also not enough staff to cope with the number of people coming through the hospital’s doors.’

The BMA’s investigation also found that the highest use of escalation beds per trust was in the East Midlands, while London used the most escalation beds as a proportion of total beds.

‘It cannot be right that the NHS is having to use these measures almost permanently, especially when the BMA, other leading healthcare bodies and patient groups have offered solutions,’ Mr Harwood added.

Responding to the findings, Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said: ‘The use of escalation beds is yet another sign that hospitals are struggling to cope under continued pressure. We know this is compromising patient care.

‘The Tories and, in Coalition, the Lib Dems have run down the NHS and imposed the biggest funding squeeze in its history.

‘Ministers should be ashamed that years of cuts to beds, to social care and to funding have led to some of the worst bed occupancy rates in hospitals.’

Learning from Leeds image

Learning from Leeds

Joanne Volpe the best of giving people the information they need to find a home right for them.
Highways jobs

Senior Practitioner - Placement Finding Team

Essex County Council
£28500.0 - £50400.0 per annum
Senior Practitioner - Children and Young People Placement Service- Placement Finding Team Interviews to be held on the 10th September at County Hall, England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

People Information Analyst

Essex County Council
Up to £33330 per annum
Please note this is a fixed term contract role for a duration of 12 months. Essex County Council (ECC) is one of the largest and most dynamic local au England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Key stage Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£32430 - £34794
Key Stage Education Officer (Secondary Phase) to work with children in our care, supporting them in classrooms and in their homes with their education SE18 6HQ
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Solicitor/Barrister Advocate - Children’s x4

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
Band I, SCP 44 - 47 (£46,564 - £49,538 per annum) (£24.14 - 25.68 per hour)
To act as the principal advocate for all aspects of advocacy legal work relating to the children’s social care in the county court and high court. Sandwell Council House, Freeth Street, Oldbury B69 3DE
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Business Support Officer

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
Band C, SCP 5 - 8 (£18,795 - £19,945 per annum) pro rata (£9.74 - £10.34 per hour)
The successful candidate will provide administrative business support to service teams within Adult Social Care, Health and Wellbeing. The Lyng, Health & Social Care Centre, Frank Fisher Way, West Bromwich, B70 7AW
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

The June issue of Local Government News contains the full details of all the winning schemes in the 2019 Street Design Awards. From Children's Play to Pedestrian Environment, find out who has been recognised for their innovation and use of best practice.

This issue also explores how local government pension funds can hedge currency risk, how councils can best address the shortfall in school places, and an update on the number of authorities banning the use of Roundup over safety fears.

Register for your free magazine