BBC News reports that 475,000 patients in England waited for over four hours for a ward bed in 2015-2016. This equates to 11% of the 4.2 million people admitted to hospital.
This figure has increased five fold when compared to the 97, 559 patients waiting for beds in 2010-2011. Large numbers of patients have found themselves in ‘trolley waits’ located in corridors or side rooms.
Patients facing this wait have already waited to be seen in A&E but their diagnosis is not deemed urgent enough to be admitted straight onto a ward.
Three quarters of hospitals have reportedly now exceeded the 85% bed capacity target, which highlights the worsening position and pressures that the extended waits are having on Acute Trusts.
NHS leaders have attributed the figures on ‘growing demand’ in the system, however, doctors feel levels have reached dangerous overcrowding for hospitals.
Another BBC article highlighted that previous research links a shortage of beds to longer emergency waiting times and higher risk of infection.
How can NHS trusts improve this situation? Working with one recent client, Unipart Expert Practices helped to reduce patient waiting times in the emergency department by improving patient flow through wards to reduce length of stay and increase bed availability.
Original story: BBC News