NHS: health experts claim the latest government plan is ‘hard to see’

Announced today, the UK government have pledged to invest £1bn into NHS England to provide thousands of new hospital beds and ambulances.

Details of the £1bn investment will be set out later in a joint government and NHS England two-year plan, but the money will be used to provide an extra five thousand hospital beds in a bid to boost capacity by 5%.

photography of Big Ben in London during daytime

In addition to assisting with the current lack of beds at the moment, the ambulance fleet are also set to receive some of the budget to increase their capacity by 10% – with 800 new vehicles.

The government believes measures, which will be introduced from April, will help the NHS hit waiting time targets. As it stands, fewer than 70% of A&E patients are being seen within four hours of arriving and emergency ambulance calls suffered a 90-minute wait last month.

In a bid to improve this, the Prime Minister has set A&E targets to 95% of patients being seen within a four-hour limit and ambulance call wait times reducing to 18 minutes.

However, concerns have been raised about how effective these extra resources will be. Currently one in 10 posts in the NHS is vacant, implying there will not be enough staff to help care for extra patients.

The King’s Fund health think-tank said until that issue was addressed it was ‘hard to see’ how the plan would have an impact.

Against this backdrop, health experts are sceptical about the health risks that develop from staying in bed for too long – suggesting patients should be discharged from hospital quicker.

Mario Zuccaro, Founder of Care Tech company Oysta, said: ‘It was great to hear Dr Adrian Boyle, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, remind us this morning that keeping patients in hospital beds means people de-condition, which increases the risk of falls, and an increased risk of infections.

‘10 days in bed can lead to 10 years of muscle wastage, according to occupational therapists.

‘So, why are the government spending millions on buying up extra hospital and social care beds instead of using technology to get people home and moving – increasing capacity to care for more people whilst saving money?’

MPs from local authorities have agreed technology can help discharge patients from hospital’s quicker, relieving stress on the NHS.

Northamptonshire MP, Dame Andrea Leadsom, paid a recent visit to the Care Tech company, Oysta’s office, and claimed the technology they provide to patients helps them stay at home rather than rely on hospital treatment/staff. Currently, there are an estimated 14000 patients that are deemed fit to leave hospital but are stuck in hospital beds due to a lack of social care outside, according to the latest official statistics.

Photo by Ricardo Frantz


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