Suffolk's NHS beds cut by 20per cent

THE number of hospital beds available in Suffolk has reduced by 20per cent in the past ten years, it emerged today.

THE number of hospital beds available in Suffolk has reduced by 20per cent in the past ten years, it emerged today.

Figures released by the Department of Health show the number of available beds in Suffolk NHS hospitals has decreased from 1,501 in 1996/97 to 1,194 in 2006/07.

This is 4pc more than the total percentage of beds that have been axed in the whole of England.

West Suffolk Conservative MP Richard Spring said: “Continuously our local hospitals are on 'black alert' as a shortage of beds sees our hospitals at bursting point. Now we know the reason why.”


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A spokesman for NHS East of England said: “Over the past ten years, healthcare has changed radically. A new generation of drugs, a better skilled workforce and better information technology mean that many patients can be treated at home or in more local, community settings.

“Day and short stay surgery are increasingly used for procedures that previously needed a long stay in hospital.”

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NHS East of England also said the figures show that average bed occupancy at West Suffolk Hospital, Ipswich Hospital and Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, has been consistently at or below 85% - the maximum recommended by infection control guidelines.

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