NHS Winter Crisis

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:09 pm on 10th January 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Philippa Whitford Philippa Whitford Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Health and Social Care) 2:09 pm, 10th January 2018

I thank the hon. Lady for her intervention.

Obviously, the shape of medicine has changed. More is delivered in primary care—as a surgeon, I well know that more surgeries are delivered in a day—but if we are doing a straightforward operation on an older patient, they will still always require longer rehabilitation; they are more likely to stay overnight or several days, and if they have fractured their hip, they will require full rehabilitation before they go home. The problem is that the number of beds in England has been halved since 1987—under successive Governments—and the NHS stats released for the end of the second quarter of 2017-18 show that almost 1,000 beds have been lost even since the winter of last year, when the situation was described as a humanitarian crisis. That was a mild winter that did not have a flu outbreak on top.

England has only 2.4 beds per 1,000 population, whereas the EU15 that the Secretary of State refers to has 3.7, and we in Scotland have more than four. If we are running constantly with bed occupancy rates of over 85% or 90%, that is where the issue lies.