Don’t fall ill in Harlow as “no beds crisis” at Princess Alexandra fully revealed

Health / Sun 8th Jan 2017 at 08:52am

PRINCESS Alexandra hospital did not have a single bed free in any general or acute care ward for 27 days in December, shocking official figures have revealed.

Hospitals should have no more than 85 per cent of beds occupied at any time.

But in December, the Princess Alexandra Hospital did not have a single spare bed for 27 out of 31 nights, making it the fullest hospital in England.

The 383-bed facility was full for nine days at the start of the month, then there was a two day lull when five beds briefly became available, followed by another 12-day stretch at full capacity until Christmas reports the Daily Mail.

With patients discharged on Christmas Eve, and no pre-planned operations carried out over the break, occupancy dropped briefly.

But the hospital was full again from Boxing Day to New Year’s Eve.

Experts say anything over 85 per cent occupancy is dangerous.

The damning statistics, are contained in an official NHS report, and are the starkest indication yet how the Health Service is struggling in the face of its worst nationwide crisis in 15 years.

Dr Taj Hassan, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine told the Mail: ‘Meltdown is an emotive term but what is undoubtedly true is that emergency departments and hospital staff are absolutely working at their very limit – and that’s not sustainable.

‘NHS staff are incredibly dedicated, but they are human beings and they can’t carry on working at 110 per cent with hospitals full, emergency departments overcrowded, and ambulances queuing up for prolonged periods outside.

‘What we are seeing is the safety net of the NHS being stretched to the absolute limit, and in some places it’s breaking.’

He said bed occupancy rates should ideally be no higher than 85 per cent, explaining: ‘When you get to 100 per cent that’s when you get patients stuck in emergency departments for 10, 15, 24 hours or more.’

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