It seems that every day at the moment, the media is full of the latest stories from the NHS being in crisis. Patients being left in corridors, people left waiting in A&E for hours on end and hospitals taking on more people than they have beds for.
It used to be that the winter months were considered ‘breaking point’ for NHS services given the increase in illnesses and injuries around this time of year. However, it now seems as though this state of desperate emergency is commonplace all year round.
Is there a hospital bed crisis in the United Kingdom?
The simple answer is yes. As recently as January, the emergency department of a variety of hospital trusts was declaring major incidents – meaning they had room for only the most severe and life-threatening injuries. There were also numerous reports in the media of ambulances being forced to queue outside the doors to admit patients, such was the volume of people requiring attention.
What causes a hospital bed crisis?
In the most basic terms, a hospital bed crisis occurs when, quite simply, hospitals have more patients that require treatment than they do beds to let them all stay in. Over time, these states of emergency have been mercifully rare, and are often short-lived. However, it is a situation that seems to be getting worse.
But why are hospitals busier now? Different people will claim different reasons. Some will say it’s because of a lack of funding for a service in desperate need of a financial boost, others will claim it’s the inevitable consequence of an ageing population, especially as modern medicine is so advanced people are now living for much longer.
What can be done to ease the hospital bed crisis?
One of the most effective ways of preventing, or at least significantly reducing, the hospital bed crisis is to be fully aware of other NHS services available.
For example, a GP appointment, a visit to a walk-in centre or even just a chat with your pharmacist may provide the answer to your ailment without having to go through the doors of A&E.
Having said that, if you feel you need to go to hospital – go. And remember if you are hurt through medical negligence, Accident Advice Helpline can help you win the compensation you may well deserve. Call our expert advisors on 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from mobiles for a no-obligation chat.
Date Published: February 22, 2017
Author: Accident Advice