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Hospital Beds

Volume 887: debated on Friday 7 March 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will publish details in the Official Report of the total number of beds in the Medway Hospital Group; how this compares with the national average; and what is, for an area of this population, the considered optimum number of beds.

The figures are not readily available. I shall be writing to my hon. Friend.

Average daily number of available beds 1973Number of beds requiredShortfall (-) Excess (+)
Surgery (including Gynaecology)81,351
Maternity (including General Practitioners beds)21,80418,500+ 3,304†
Mental Illness and Mental Handicap165,465—§
* The actual number of beds considered adequate to meet demand can only be determined by local considerations. Currently hospitals are being designed to acute bed ratios ranging between 2 and 2·8 beds/1,000 population.
† The bed requirement has been calculated on a national basis and the excess shown masks some local deficiencies.
‡ These beds are provided at the rate of 10 per 1,000 population age 65 and over.
§ Plans for the development of services for the mentally ill and mentally handicapped envisage an expansion of day and out—patient facilities and local authority day and residential services with a corresponding reduction in the number of hospital beds.