NHS Providers calls for urgent review into ‘insufficient’ critical care capacity

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NHS Providers has called for a review into “insufficient” critical care capacity in England, citing three regions as being of key concern, at a time when the NHS found itself overwhelmed by Covid-19 cases earlier this year.

The organisation, which includes NHS hospital, mental health, community and ambulance services, called on the government to conduct an investigation into failings in the current system after an analysis showed the UK has the lowest number of critical care beds per head in Europe.

The analysis by NHS Providers uncovered that, per 100,000 people, the UK only has 7.3 critical care beds, compared with 33.8 in Germany and 34.3 in the United States.

“It’s neither safe nor sensible to rely on NHS hospital trusts being able to double or triple their capacity at the drop of a hat as they’ve had to over the last two months,” NHS Providers warned in a statement.

The UK is towards the bottom of the European league table for critical care beds per head of population

The UK government has pledged to try and address the lack of capacity in the healthcare system over the next two years by investing £72 billion ($100.5 billion) in the NHS.

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However, NHS Providers suggested this promise might not be enough as, in the past, “too many reviews” have been conducted without improvements because “the government has not been willing to fund the results.”

Earlier this year, as the UK battled a third wave of coronavirus, NHS hospitals in England found themselves overwhelmed by the influx of patients, as they had a new Covid-19 case admitted every 30 seconds at one point. 

London was even forced to declare a “major incident” after officials warned that the city would completely “run out of beds” within a “couple of weeks,” as some hospitals had to stop accepting patients after hitting capacity.

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