Nationwide catalogue of acute bed shortages

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Some of the hospitals forced to take action over shortage of beds include:

Borders General Hospital, near Melrose, Scotland, has only cancelled two or three non urgent operations but it has transferred 50 per cent of day-patient beds to in-patient beds. A spokesman said the hospital is under "extreme pressure" due to an unprecedented increase in the level of medical emergency admissions and staff sickness.

Bridgend Hospital, Wales, had its accident and emergency department either effectively full or shut earlier this week.

Edinburgh Royal Infirmary stopped certain surgical procedures because of a nurse shortage last week.

Falkirk and District Royal Infirmary, Scotland, postponed 30 non-urgent operations this week as a direct result of pressure on beds.

Glasgow Royal Infirmary has had to cancel 73 operations this week and in the last few days medical patients have been transferred to surgical wards. It normally handles 50 emergency admissions per day. This week the hospital opened an 11-bed winter medical ward, delayed since the start of November for lack of qualified staff.

Queens University Hospital, Nottingham, is said to be under-funded by pounds 2m because it had exceeded its contracts. The 1,340-bed hospital claims "the biggest and busiest A&E unit in the country". Some160,778 patients passed through the unit last year. All surgical procedures were stopped from December 18 to January 8 and wards were closed.

Whipps Cross Hospital, in Leytonstone, east London, has been on a "red alert" since 3 January. This means all elective admissions are cancelled and the hospital closed to ambulances expect for resuscitation and specialities such as maternity. The hospital has over 800 beds but none were free for emergency admissions yesterday afternoon. In accident and emergency last year, 79,700 people were treated of which about 20 per cent were admitted to wards.

Average daily number of available

NHS beds in England

Number of beds (thousands)

Year All specialities Acute *General and


1984 335 139 194

1990-91 255 117 163

1991-92 243 115 157

1992-93 232 113 153

1993-94 219 110 147

1994-95 212 108 145

Average annual change(%)

1984 to

1994-95 -4.4 -2.4 -2.8

1993-94 to

1994-95 -3.5 -1.6 -1.6


1984 20.5 38.9 27.0

1990-91 29.5 49.6 34.9

1991-92 32.0 51.8 37.6

1992-93 33.7 53.1 39.1

1993-94 36.4 55.5 41.6

1994-95 38.1 57.1 42.9

*General and acute is defined as acute plus geriatric