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NHS is “full” owing to rise in emergency admissions and poor discharge procedures, report says

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 04 December 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8245
  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. 1BMJ

NHS hospitals are being stretched to “bursting point” by a combination of soaring emergency admissions and an inability to discharge patients effectively, a comprehensive new audit has found.

The Dr Foster Hospital Guide 2012, which examined capacity at acute trusts in England, found that most hospitals were more than 90% occupied for 48 weeks of the year, with many hospitals more than 95% full in winter.1

The report said that high levels of bed occupancy were endangering patient safety and making it more difficult to run the health service effectively and that the NHS should ideally operate at 85% bed occupancy.

It said that the latest figures also disguised the highs …

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