HUNDREDS of beds have disappeared from Scotland’s hospitals over the past year despite a Scottish Government pledge to protect NHS budgets, official statistics today showed.
• 1.5 per cent fall in number of staffed beds in acute specialties in three momths to September
• Alex Neil: decrease is due to improvement in the way services are delivered
• Number of outpatients treated over three-month period up by 1.3 per cent
There were 16,091 staffed beds in acute specialties in the three months to September, down from 16,335 beds over the same period last year, a fall of 1.5 per cent.
Health secretary Alex Neil said the decrease was down to an improvement in the way services are delivered.
He said: “Patients are now being treated faster than ever, in a way that suits them best – no one wants to be stuck in hospital for longer than they need to be.
“The reduction in bed numbers reflects the change in the way services are now being delivered, for example, NHS delivered it’s 80 per cent same day surgery target last year and also with more patients now being cared for in the community and by primary care services.”
There were also about 360,000 patients treated in Scottish hospitals as inpatients in the three months to September 2012, a similar figure to the previous year. But there were 1.18 million outpatients treated over the same period, up by about 1.3 per cent.