BMA warns of bed crisis in the NHS

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 20 January 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:139

The BMA has warned that unless urgent action is taken there will be a “severe and prolonged bed crisis in the acute sector of the NHS.” The association has called on the health secretary and the ministers responsible for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland to take action to rectify the crisis. This follows reports in the press and the experience of many BMA council members of the increasing difficulties in finding short stay beds.

The BMA chairman, Dr Sandy Macara, said that there was a “potentially lethal cocktail of problems,” the main one being lack of flexibility to cope with sudden, increased demands. The number of short stay beds had been reduced by 2.8% in England between 1984 and 1995, to save money and because of the increase in day surgery, shorter hospital stays, and the …

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