NHS Providers responds to £250m NHS capacity boost

15 August 2023

Responding to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) announcement that 900 new hospital beds will be delivered across the NHS as part of £250m government funding to help treat patients more quickly this winter, Miriam Deakin, director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers said:

"Trust leaders will welcome additional support from the government ahead of winter to support urgent and emergency care services. Increasing the number of beds could help ease pressure on hospitals by closing the gap between capacity and demand, meaning patients could be seen sooner.

"However, this is just one piece of a much larger puzzle. Not only will these new beds need to be staffed, but underlying issues including workforce shortages, a lack of investment in capital and the desperate need for social care reform will ultimately hinder progress unless also addressed.

"Similarly, other parts of the health system, including mental health and community services, need adequate investment in physical capacity to meet high demand.

"As winter is the busiest time of the year for urgent and emergency care, trust leaders will be very concerned that this extra capacity is only expected to be in place by January. For the best results, trusts would need these new beds before winter begins.

"It will also be important to understand where new beds are being created, and where beds are being freed up by better means of meeting patients' needs through care at home or same day emergency care, for example.

"Steps like this are promising, but the only way to recover urgent and emergency care, and to put the NHS on a sustainable footing, is for the government to tackle the longer-term challenges in health and care."