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Critical care beds shortage prompts calls for review


The NHS's "insufficient" critical care capacity has been laid bare by the pandemic, with the UK having one of the lowest number of beds per head in Europe, NHS Providers has said.

The group, which represents trusts in England, is calling for a review of the health service's capacity.

The UK has 7.3 critical care beds per 100,000 people, compared to Germany's 33.8 and the US's 34.3, analysis found.

The government said it was investing £72bn in the next two years in the NHS. 

"The UK is towards the bottom of the European League table for critical care beds per head of population," NHS Providers said.

The group added that the UK had comparatively fewer critical care beds than France, Italy, Australia and Spain.

"It's neither safe nor sensible to rely on NHS hospital trusts being able to double or triple their capacity at the drop of a hat as they've had to over the last two months, with all the disruption to other care and impossible burdens on staff that involves."

Seeking a review into critical care capacity in England, the organisation said it wanted the government to commit to providing additional finances in areas where it was needed.

"There have been too many reviews of NHS capacity in the past where huge amounts of time have been wasted because the government has not been willing to fund the results of what's been found," the group said.

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Source: BBC News, 1 March 2021

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