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GMB urges for plans to increase London hospital care beds be applied nationwide

PLANS to double the number of intensive-care beds in London’s hospitals following the coronavirus crisis should be implemented across Britain, the GMB said today.

According to the Financial Times (FT), the plans have been drawn up after a backlog of six million routine operations have built up nationwide because hospitals could not cope with coronavirus victims and routine patients simultaneously.

GMB London regional officer for the health & care sector Gavin Davies said that the union welcomed the report.

He said: “At the best of times the capacity was stretched, and more intensive-care beds will bring the UK nearer to the comparable position in other countries. 

“The NHS should not stop at London. Increasing the number of intensive-care beds should be rolled out to other parts of the country too.

“At the same time, the NHS and Parliament should examine the scope for management in the NHS to be further devolved to local level with input from staff in the wake of the first phase of the public-health emergency.”

Mr Davies said that the public have fully demonstrated their total confidence in the front-line NHS and care staff.

“The management of the NHS at local level can only benefit from more direct input from these magnificent staff into the running of local health and care services,” he said.

Shortages of intensive-care beds prompted the government to opt for temporary Nightingale hospitals to deal with a potential overflow of patients from hospitals unable to cope with thousands of coronavirus victims, the FT reported.

The report said that the NHS in the capital has drawn up the plans for more intensive-care beds “for navigating a second wave of coronavirus without the mass cancellation of other treatments.”

According to NHS England, the number of beds available fell from 144,455 between April and June in 2010 to 127,225 in July to September in 2019 — a loss of about 17,000 beds.

At the same time patient numbers increased, while the NHS has a current nursing vacancy of 40,000 staff.

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