Welsh NHS hospital beds plunge by 30% over 20 years

The number of available NHS hospital beds has plummeted by 30% in the last 20 years, according to Welsh Government data published today.

Current records show that just 10,935 beds are available across Wales’ seven health boards – this compared to 15,582 in 1996.

For the most recent year, older people’s services saw a significant dip in available beds, with rehabilitation services taking the biggest cut, falling by 8% when compared to last year’s figures.

During the same period, old age psychiatry beds were cut by 6.6%, general surgery beds by 6% and geriatric medicine by 5.8%.

Commenting on the data, Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Secretary, Angela Burns AM, said:

“These disturbing figures show how a combination of increased occupancy and swingeing cuts has led to a hospital bed crisis.

“Bed shortages puts strain on staff, means A&E units fill up and renders paramedics unable to offload patients quickly so ambulances are delayed in responding to their next distress call.

“It’s particularly alarming to see that older people are being worst affected by this; often frail and disorientated, the figures suggest they are inappropriately kept in hospital settings for far too long.

“The Labour-led Welsh Government urgently needs to tackle bed-blocking and invest in more beds if it is to prevent this crisis from deepening further as we enter the winter months.”

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Team @ AberdareOnline

Team @ AberdareOnline

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