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Stats show just one bed free for emergency patients at St Mary’s this Christmas

Calls for urgent funding injection as national NHS crisis worsens

05 January, 2018 — By Tom Foot

St Mary’s Hospital 

ONLY one emergency bed was spare at St Mary’s Hospital throughout the entire Christmas period, official stats have revealed.

NHS England data shows winter pressure is getting out of control with 105 of the 106 emergency beds available at the Paddington hospital in constant use.

It was one of the highest bed occupancy rates in the country over the festive period during a crisis that triggered an apology from Theresa May yesterday (Thursday).

Nursing chiefs have warned that the NHS is at “breaking point” and that staff are being “denied the resources they need”.

Royal College of Nursing London regional director Bernell Bussue said: “These figures show a system at breaking point, with wards full to bursting, patients waiting outside hospitals in the back of ambulances and even critical care wards and children’s intensive care units going through days with no spare beds.

“Nursing staff are working harder than ever to care for patients but they are being denied the resources they need while record numbers of nursing posts lay vacant. Wards are understaffed and staff are overstretched.

“The responsibility for this crisis lays squarely at the feet of the government. Sustained and unprecedented underfunding of the NHS, cuts to social care and public health budgets as well as the disastrous mismanagement of the NHS workforce have led the health service to this point.”

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs St Mary’s Hospital, had warned before Christmas that this year’s “winter pressure” was likely to be worse than ever.

In a statement in November, divisional director of medicine Professor Tim Orchard, who manages the “patient pathway” through the trust’s urgent and emergency service, said: “We’ve also already got a lot of pressure on our inpatient beds – partly as a result of estates problems causing wards to be out of action for repair work but also because we are seeing more urgent and emergency admissions – there’s been an 11 per cent increase since 2015/16.

“But I am confident we will continue to provide high quality care for all of our patients if we work together and make best use of all the planning and preparation that has been put in place. I would urge everyone to have a look at the checklists we’ve developed to be clear on what support is on offer and how it can be accessed, and what you can do yourself to get winter ready.”

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