LETTER : Patients gain when hospital beds are matched to changing needs

Share
Related Topics
From Mr Ron Kerr

Sir: Your discussion of the bed closures issue ("Untried cure kills hospitals", 6 March) misreads what the King's Fund has said, as well as misreporting the policy of the NHS. Worldwide, there is no doubt that hospitals are becoming ever more efficient in treating patients as medical technology improves. Many UK hospitals now treat every other waiting list patient as a day case - without the need for a bed.

Neither the King's Fund nor the Tomlinson Report argued that improved primary care would reduce the need for hospital beds. Tomlinson did point out that inner London primary care desperately needed improving. That's what we are doing. We need resources to do it and we can take those from the acute sector if we make the changes in Tomlinson that have been urged on London for most of this century.

Health bodies outside the capital will not accept for much longer the £65m a year subsidy that goes into overhead costs in large London hospitals. But of course district hospitals, both in the capital and outside, will continue to provide routine treatments - in fact they are now treating patients close to home who previously travelled to the London teaching hospitals for care.

The specialist care for conditions such as renal failure, cancer and heart disease is best carried out in departments which have a critical mass of patients so that the medical teams gain wider experience and provide safer care. That is the argument - coming from medical professionals themselves - for larger, fewer hospitals in cities like London.

Yes, there is an increase in emergency cases, and we must address the problem of trolley waits - but the answer is not simply more beds, but getting the right beds in the right place for the right patients. And also working with our colleagues in social services and the independent sector to ensure that sufficient high quality nursing home accommodation is available so that elderly people who should not be in hospital don't have to be.

A moratorium on all bed closures is a nonsense. Medical treatments are constantly changing and the NHS must respond. Hospitals now decide on the beds they require according to contracts they hold with health authorities, which set out where they need particular specialities to be provided.

It is the role of the purchaser and providers together to improve the short-term and the long-term use of beds. It is not the number of beds that matters but the number of patients who are treated and the quality of that treatment in primary, secondary and tertiary care.

Change cannot be avoided. London's hospitals have been absorbing too high a share of NHS resources, at the expense of hospitals elsewhere and primary care standards in the capital. The balance must be redressed, sentiment aside, it is patients who will gain (the Independent, February 1993).

Yours faithfully,

RON KERR

Regional General Manager,

North Thames RHA

CHRIS SPRY

Regional General Manager

South Thames RHA

NHS Executive

London, W2

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Commercial Litigation NQ+

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE NQ to MID LEVEL - An e...

MANCHESTER - SENIOR COMMERCIAL LITIGATION -

Highly Attractive Pakage: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - A highly attractive oppor...

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Norovirus the food poisoning bug that causes violent stomach flu  

A flu pandemic could decide next year’s election

Matthew Norman
J. Jayalalithaa gestures to her party supporters while standing on the balcony of her residence in Chennai. Former film star Jayalalithaa Jayaram is one of India's most colourful and controversial politicians  

The jailing of former film star Jayalalithaa Jayaram is a drama even Bollywood couldn’t produce

Andrew Buncombe
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?