According to the Royal College of Physicians, acute hospitals are on the point of collapse. Emergency admissions have increased 37% in the last decade, but hospitals have a third fewer beds than 25 years ago.
For a while the decrease in beds was matched by a shortening of patients’ stays in hospital, but that trend is now in reverse. Older patients are coming into hospital with more complex conditions and are staying longer.
Meanwhile the Tories plan £20 billion cuts by 2014-5, and £50 billion by 2019-20.