Hospital Wards in England at Unsafe Levels - NHS Struggling to Cope Says BBC Report
In a worrying development, the BBC is reporting that the number of patients on hospital wards in England has been at unsafe levels at nine out of 10 NHS trusts this winter.
To minimise the risk of infections and delays in getting treatment, hospitals are meant to have no more than 85% of beds occupied – principally to allow for emergency admissions.
However, the analysis showed that 137 out of 152 hospital trusts have been above that level since the start of December.
There have also been reports of patients dying in an undignified way. Richard Taylor, 55, from Liverpool, says he was left devastated after watching the undignified death of his mum Sheila in January. She had cancer but her local cancer centre was full and so was unable to give her end-of-life care. She was taken to Aintree Hospital but spent 13 hours on a trolley waiting for a bed before being admitted. A week later she died at the age of 78.
Meanwhile, patients have been contacting the BBC to report the chaos they have experienced in overcrowded hospitals, including long waits for treatment and operations being cancelled at the last minute.
Of particular concern is the fact that this winter has not yet seen any particularly extreme weather conditions. It seems as though the NHS cannot cope with normal seasonal conditions.
The findings have been highlighted as the BBC launches a special week of coverage about the state of the NHS. We’ll be blogging our views during the course of the week.