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Royal College of Surgeons response to new patient care test for hospital bed closures

03 Mar 2017

NHS chief executive Simon Stevens has announced that significant hospital bed closures can only take place where a new test that ensures patients will continue to receive high quality care can be met.

Responding to the announcement, Miss Clare Marx, President of the Royal College of Surgeons, said:

“The Royal College of Surgeons has pushed for a review of hospital bed numbers and so it is extremely welcome that NHS England is introducing this new patient care test.

“It has been possible to reduce bed capacity as the need to stay in hospital for long periods has lessened however bed cuts have now gone too far, overtaking decreases in length of stay. A shortage of beds on hospital wards this winter left patients waiting too long for both emergency and planned care.”

“Although Sustainability and Transformation Plans are a welcome initiative, the RCS has been concerned that a number are proposing to cut bed numbers without viable alternatives in place. We hope this new patient care test for hospital bed closures will prevent hospital bed closures that could restrict the availability of inpatient care.

“We mustn’t forget though that hospital bed closures can happen for reasons other than reconfiguration, for example where a ward is closed due to lack of staff or to save money, and so NHS England will have to continue to monitor overall bed numbers closely.”

Notes to editors

The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance surgical standards and improve patient care.

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