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Hospitals in England may be on brink of collapse

13th September 2012

A report from the Royal College of Physicians has warned that hospitals in England could be on the brink of collapse because of rising demand and the increasing complexity of patients’ conditions.

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With the number of beds having been cut by a third over the past 25 years, the RCP said that had coincided with a rise in emergency admissions at a time that hospitals were seeing older patients with a wider variety of conditions.

The RCP said urgent care was being compromised and standards were slipping in English hospitals.

It also warned the problems could lead to another scandal like that surrounding the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust, which became the subject of a public inquiry after regulators said poor standards had led to needless deaths.

Major concerns included the way older patients were repeatedly moved around wards, the lack of continuity of care while in hospital and tests being done during the night.

Professor Tim Evans of the RCP said: “This evidence is very distressing. All hospital patients deserve to receive safe, high-quality sustainable care centred around their needs.

“Yet it is increasingly clear that our hospitals are struggling to cope with the challenge of an ageing population who increasingly present to our hospitals with multiple, complex diseases. We must act now to make the drastic changes required to provide the care they deserve.”

The RCP say concentrating hospital services in fewer, larger sites that were able to provide excellent care round-the-clock, seven days a week was the solution.

 

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