Intended for healthcare professionals


Hospitals hit unsafe occupancy and divert ambulances in first week of winter

BMJ 2018; 363 doi: (Published 13 December 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k5296
  1. Matthew Limb
  1. London

Winter strain on the NHS in England is showing, with hospitals hitting “unsafe” occupancy levels and many ambulance crews being diverted from busy sites, figures show.

NHS England statistics—the first weekly report of this so far mild winter—showed that nearly 95% of beds were occupied and eight emergency departments had diverted ambulance crews elsewhere.1 To deliver safe care, occupancy rates should not exceed 85%.

Siva Anandaciva, chief analyst at the health think tank the King’s Fund, said, “These figures show little slack in a system which is operating consistently in the red zone.

“Hospital bed occupancy levels …

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