The government has announced £250m in funding to provide an extra 5,000 NHS hospital beds in England this winter. Ministers say 900 new beds should be ready by January, with the remainder to follow soon after, boosting capacity and helping lower record waiting lists.
The increase will mean nearly 100,000 permanent beds on wards and in A&E, available at the busiest time of the year - a 5% rise on current levels. NHS Providers said the extra capacity was needed "before winter begins".
Miriam Deakin, director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers, said trusts would welcome the support but cautioned any new beds would need to be staffed. She added that, since winter is the busiest time of the year for urgent and emergency care, trust leaders would be concerned that the promised extra capacity is only expected to be in place by January. "For the best results, trusts would need these new beds before winter begins," she said.
Pat Cullen, from the Royal College of Nursing, added: "The elephant in the room is who will staff these additional beds? Nursing staff are already spread too thinly over too many patients."
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Source: BBC News, 15 August 2023