Sturgeon urged to 'stop cutting hospital beds' at First Minister's Questions

Phillip Cunningham
January 14, 2018

And patients in ambulances also faced long waits, with one in eight left outside for half an hour or longer.

Other issues raised in the letter, first reported in the Health Service Journal, include patients waiting up to 12 hours for a bed after doctors had chose to admit them, with queues of 50 patients waiting in one emergency department.

Responding to the claims during First Minister's Questions, Ms Sturgeon said the "health service budget has gone up to record levels, the number of people who work in our health service has gone up to record levels and the number of delayed discharges has gone down over the past year".

Tom Wilson, from Newtongrange in Midlothian, lay bleeding for more than three hours as he waited on an ambulance - and then spent 13 hours on a trolley in a corridor in A&E.

Dr Dan Beckett, Scottish representative of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: "Falls and slips as a result of the icy weather and public holidays have put pressure on hospitals and A&E departments, however flu has had a significant additional impact on most acute medical units this winter".

The signatories are from hospitals including major London teaching hospitals such as the Royal Free, King's College and Guy's and St Thomas's, as well as regional trauma centres such as the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS trust, which runs the Royal Stoke hospital, as well as several of the seven health boards in Wales.

She said: "People are waiting too long in A&E departments because there are no beds for them on wards, and because many of those hospital beds are taken up by patients who are waiting for their social care arrangements".

Ruth Davidson has called on the First Minister to stop cutting hospital beds while Scotland is in the midst of a "flu crisis".


"But this SNP government has cut both hospital beds and elderly social care places, so when something like a flu crisis hits, the system breaks down". That has gone to 107 per 100,000 - that is four times the level of flu in this week previous year.

The First Minister said: "N evertheless, Scotland's NHS remains the best-performing NHS anywhere in the United Kingdom".

They said this was because the NHS is so "chronically underfunded" and dangerously short-staffed.

"And it is about time that the opposition recognised the achievements of those working so hard on the frontline of our National Health Service". "As you will know a number of scientific publications have shown that crowded emergency departments (ED) are unsafe for patients".

Mr Leonard said: "That is an 80 year old man with underlying health conditions waiting more than 16 hours for treatment".

The figures show that bed occupancy levels have gone back up to 95%, but, more positively, delayed transfers of care - when a patient is ready to leave a hospital - were lower than at the same point in any of the past four years.

The Nat leader made a grovelling apology as Mr Wilson's ordeal was revealed in Holyrood by Labour chief Richard Leonard.

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