Hospitals set to cut beds in the big cities

CITIES throughout Britain are facing swingeing cuts in numbers of hospital beds, despite the present crisis in which family doctors are finding it hard to get patients into hospital.

Bed shortages are now the worst for 30 years, according to the British Medical Association, yet a new survey being published tomorrow shows that cities such as Glasgow, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Manchester are going to suffer new permanent bed cuts similar to those proposed for London by the recent Tomlinson Report.

As the new National Health Service market begins to bite, city centre hospitals are losing contracts to suburban and county hospitals because they are cheaper. Loss of contracts means loss of beds.

The survey, appearing in a new medical magazine Healthcare Management, shows that Glasgow will lose 1,200 beds, Edinburgh 1,000, Cardiff 1,000, Manchester 500 and Birmingham 500.

'The effects on medical education will be devastating,' says Professor Arie Zuckerman, dean of the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, north London.

'It is impossible to solve the problem of bed shortages by training medical students entirely in the community because GPs are not trained in teaching and are too busy, and if you send them to district general hospitals all over the country, it is expensive in time and money.'

Although doctors and patients are aware of the plight facing London, following the Tomlinson Report's proposal to cut 2,500 beds in the capital, many do not realise a similar fate is about to hit their own cities over the next few years.

Managers are more conscious of the coming cuts. 'We are convinced that after the Government has implemented the changes in London, it will do a similar exercise on Birmingham or Manchester,' said an NHS manager.

Professor Chris Ham, a health economist, of Birmingham University's Health Services Management Centre, added: 'You will find the Tomlinson issue arising in many major cities. There are two strands. One is the impact of the NHS reforms and the other is the way medical technology is developing, so that we will need fewer hospital beds on fewer sites in the future.

'The two strands reinforce each other. The reforms make it less viable to have services on many expensive sites with high capital charges,' he added.

In south Manchester, managers are proposing to merge the Withington and Wythenshawe hospitals on to one site with the loss of 500 beds, while in south Birmingham, they are proposing to merge five hospitals into the South Birmingham Medical Centre, with a similar loss of beds.

In the first year of the market, the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, Birmingham, lost pounds 1m of contracts, seriously destabilising the hospital, as doctors sent their patients to cheaper alternatives.

In Glasgow, the problem is worst, with the authority proposing to close 1,200 beds out of a total of 4,400. 'This is not an issue we can duck,' says Laurence Peterken, general manager of the Greater Glasgow Health Board. 'Jobs will be lost and we estimate that they will be of the order of 3,500 over four to five years.'

News
peoplePaper attempts to defend itself
Voices
voicesWe desperately need men to be feminists too
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits