Hospital bed shortage continues

Hospital bed shortage continues

The shortage of hospital beds in the UK is continuing, meaning that more and more older patients are being discharged in the middle of the night.

This is the finding of a new report by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), entitled 'Hospitals on the edge? The time for action'.

Researchers claim that the number of beds in general and acute hospital wards have fallen by a third over the past decade, while the number of patients has risen.

Dr Andrew Goddard, medical director for the RCP workforce unit, said: "Hospitals have filled up. This has been coming on for a while.

"We have managed to cope with it but the system can't cope much longer, and we need to radically rethink how we provide the care for acute medical patients."

Discharging older adults in the middle of the night puts them at risk and increases the chance of re-admittance.

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