Leeds: 65 additional hospital beds to open for winter

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an extra 65 hospital beds are to be opened in Leeds to cope with increased demand over winter.

Hospital bosses have revealed the move as they approved their plan for winter, when more people require emergency treatment.

Most of the additional beds will be provided at St James’s Hospital, where most adult care and surgery, as well as specialist cancer care, is based.

Others include for trauma patients and children at Leeds General Infirmary.

Philip Norman from Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, who oversaw development of the plan, said they had started the process in April.

He said: “We are planning to open 65 beds – that is based on national data and feedback from previous winters.”

Mr Norman told a meeting of hospital directors that the plan had been based on four principles, including avoiding the need for patients to be admitted to hospital where possible.

“On top of that, we need to ensure there are sufficient beds to provide services for patients,” he added.

In addition to the 65, there will be another 14 beds used flexibly during winter to be available in the departments they are needed the most.

A report said they ideally would have been additional beds, but the “ability to recruit sufficient numbers of nursing staff has meant this has not been possible”.

Shifts for doctors have been extended to cover longer periods of time during winter, while there will be extra personnel in the accident and emergency units.

Last winter the hospitals trust had issues around accident and emergency when waiting times spiralled because of increased demand and a shortage of staff.

Interim hospitals chief executive said the organisation had received some extra funding to cope with pressures over winter,

Directors welcomed the plan, with chief operating officer Mark Smith saying: “It is a fantastic plan – we’ve just got to deliver it now.”

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