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Puzzle of the private beds

The latest available NHS England figures (September 3) show that of available beds open overnight, an undifferentiated 110,000 beds of all types (general and acute, mental health, maternity, Learning Difficulties) were occupied.

This appears to be close to the average of just 112,000 beds that were occupied in the equivalent period of 2019 before the impact of Covid-19.  However unlike 2019, when all of the bed numbers were from NHS and Foundation trusts, the most recent figures show that 5,369 (4.8%) of the total beds occupied were private sector beds, at least 3,000 of which were from identifiable mental health providers.

So it would seem that even as the trusts worked to increase their activity, only 2,300 of the undisclosed total of private hospital beds block-booked by NHS England to increase capacity for urgent and elective acute services were being used in early September.

Full story in The Lowdown, 14 September 2020

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