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NHS Hospital Beds

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In the last 30 years the number of beds in the NHS has been reduced from approximately 300,000 in 1987 to 148,000 now. The population has increased from 56.8 million to 66.2 million. So hospital beds have reduced by a half, and population increased by 17%. This information comes from a recent Iain Dale book “Why Can’t We All Just Get Along…”.

In general and acute beds, the biggest category, the figures are:

  • 1987/8 – 180,889
  • 1997/8 – 138,047
  • 2010/11 – 108,958
  • 2016/17 – 102,369

For mental health beds:

  • 1987/8 – 67,122
  • 1997/8 – 36,601
  • 2010/11 – 23,448
  • 2016/17 – 18,730

This is not party political. This has been happening with New Labour, Coalition and Conservative governments. The average decline under Blair/Brown was 1,315 beds per year. During the coalition and Conservative years it was 783 per year. The figures must demonstrate that hospital bed cuts are part of a long-term strategy.