Fewer beds, better care

PUBLISHED: 15:46 02 March 2007 | UPDATED: 08:48 21 July 2010

HOSPITAL chiefs have argued that reducing the number of their beds has improved standards of patient care...

HOSPITAL chiefs have argued that reducing the number of their beds has improved standards of patient care.

The claims are made in a joint letter sent to the Gazette by Homerton University Hospital's medical director, Dr John Coakley, and Guy Young, the director of nursing and quality.

"One of the biggest concerns that users of the hospital have is that a reduction in beds will have a negative impact on the quality of care," they write.

"Interestingly, the opposite appears to be the case. The focus on greater levels of efficiency has had a positive effect on patient care."

They say that standard of patient care is linked to the quality of the clinical staff and management rather than bed numbers.

In addition, patients who once needed to stay in hospital for longer periods can now go home on the day of surgery, or shortly after. The letter reads: "Less waiting around for things to happen, quicker access to investigations and medications to go home with and less time spent waiting in A&E are all good for patients.

"During the last six to eight months, when the Homerton has reduced the numbers of beds and staff, we have seen a significant improvement in the patient survey results, a reduction in the numbers of pressure sores and a fall in clostridium difficile infection rates.

"For all of these reasons, the reduction in beds at the Homerton should not be seen as a bad thing.


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