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£1bn saving possible

5th January 2007

08122006_emptybedQ.jpgUnnecessary stays in hospital are costing the NHS £1bn a year, says a new report.

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) says more timely discharges of patients would save around 13,000 hospital beds – or 26 hospitals.

It goes on to say that there are too many hospitals in London and the north-west, supporting the government’s current reform plans which will see many services merge and some hospitals close. The authors said the public belief that these moves were down to a financial crisis was ‘corrosive’.

The IPPR report also states that closing local A&E departments and making patients travel further afield for specialist treatment will save hundreds of lives each year.

Their findings show heart attack victims are 25 per cent less likely to die if they get an angioplasty offered in specialist centres, compared to clot-busting drugs offered in general hospitals.

Doctors’ leaders at the British Medical Association countered that delays in discharges were often down to lack of appropriate community services.

The government is set to unveil its plans to reduce emergency admissions by better monitoring of people with chronic conditions such as asthma or diabetes.



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