Scotland has ‘lowest number of hospital beds in a decade’ – STV News

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Scotland has fewer hospital beds than at any time in the last decade, new figures show.

There were 12,869 staffed beds available on average each day last year, a 9.5% decrease from the 14,227 per day in 2011-12 when the current records began.

Bed numbers free and staffed for acute patients have also fallen by 2.5% in the last year, although the numbers that were actually occupied dropped from 85.8% in 2019-20 to 74.7% in 2020-21.

The figures for available beds in acute settings include emergency treatment; routine, complex and life-saving surgery as well as specialist diagnostic procedures.

Beds used for giving birth, psychiatric services and long-stay care are not included in the Public Health Scotland figures.

The latest NHS Scotland figures for admissions and discharges also show there were almost 900,000 patients admitted to hospital in 2020-21 — 30% fewer than the previous year.

This was in addition to approximately 673,000 Scottish residents who visited an outpatient department in the last financial year, taking the total number of attendances to approximately three million, 28% fewer than 2019-20.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman suggested the decrease in acute beds was lower than the 6.5% recorded in England and explained that health boards “regularly adjust the number of staffed beds to reflect actual and projected demand”.

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