- Kristy Ellis
The Scottish Conservatives are urging SNP ministers to “get on top of the situation”.
Year Available beds
Official figures just released have shown a 622 reduction in beds between 2015/16 and 2016/17, a 2.8 per cent drop to 21,340.
Statistics for the past five years show the number of beds has fallen each year from 23,012 in 2012/13, a 7.3 per cent reduction in total.
NHS Grampian was one of the worst affected health boards which delivered a 17% drop in bed numbers over the period.
BMA figures also show that there has been a 20% reduction in the total number of available hospital beds between 2006/07 and 2015/16.
Scottish Conservative health spokesman Miles Briggs said:
There is a general shift towards community care, which will explain some of the reductions we’ve seen over the past years.Shona Robison, the under-fire SNP Health Secretary, tried to defend the drop in available beds by suggesting that the number of beds vary throughout the year.
“The NHS is under severe financial pressure, but having access to a hospital bed must remain one of its fundamental principles.
“We’ve all heard the horror stories about people being kept waiting on trolleys in accident and emergency, and massive delays for various types of care.
“When these things happen against a backdrop of dwindling bed numbers, it’s easy to see where at least some of that problem lies.
“The Government must get on top of this situation and make sure, when beds are taken out of action, it is for the right reason, and no patient will suffer as a consequence.
“Increasingly, it seems that SNP ministers’ planning around hospital bed numbers has limited flexibility and that their usage modelling is not matching what is required in reality.
Health Secretary Shona Robison said:
The number of available beds will vary throughout the year to reflect demand.
“However we have introduced measures to ensure there is an increased focus on hospital capacity and patient flow. This year, the total investment for health and social care services to deal with winter pressures and enhance resilience across the services will now be a record high of £22.4million, making sure patients are seen quickly, efficiently and without delay.
“There are also over 700 intermediate care beds available across Scotland, and health and social care partnerships are developing innovative ways of delivering intermediate care, including the use of supported housing.