The latest Dr Foster Hospital Guide for 2012 indicates that most hospitals in England are “full to bursting”, resulting in potentially dangerous environments for patients.
It has been estimated that hospitals should run optimally at around 80-85% capacity to allow room to cope with surges in demand, and but some figures show that the NHS average for 2011-12 was 88%. When bed occupancy pressures rise, the orderly management of hospital admissions to the correct wards, and proper discharge planning can become strained. Similarly, hospital acquired infections become harder to control and mistakes are more likely to occur.
Too many of the people, very often frail elderly people, occupying hospital beds might have been better off treated elsewhere in the community. During the past year, 54,915 people were admitted as an emergency to acute hospitals with a diagnosis of no more than dementia. These people were let down, apparently, by the wider health and care system. 151,449 people with urinary tract infections were admitted to hospital.
Triggle, N. (2012). Full hospitals creating potential danger, analysis says. London: BBC Health News, December 3rd 2012.
The full Dr Foster report:
Dr Foster (2012). Fit for the future. Dr Foster Hospital Guide 2012. London: Dr Foster, November 30th 2012.
My Hospital Guide: Efficiency & Mortality
Dr Foster has examined the relationships between clinical efficiency and quality by comparing mortality ratios with an index of thirteen indicators of inefficient practice. This online tool allows you to enter your postcode to discover how well local hospitals perform. The data covers all acute non-specialist trusts in England for 2011/12.
Dr Foster (2012). My Hospital Guide: Efficiency & Mortality. London: Dr Foster, November 2012.
See also, recent commentaries:
Triggle, N. (2012). The consequences of a busy day. London: BBC Health News, December 3rd 2012.
and from NHS Choices:
“Worryingly high” hospital death rates reported. London: NHS Choices, Behind the Headlines, December 3rd 2012.
[A brief reference to this item features in Dementia and Elderly Care: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWNHST), Volume 3 Issue 5, January 2013].