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Hospitals need to ‘axe thousands of more beds’

Nearly 30,000 hospital beds in England should be axed to save money and improve care, a think tank says.

Reform says the NHS’s focus should move away from hospital treatment as more people suffer from conditions, such as diabetes, which can be treated at home.

It says a quarter of beds could be axed to fund more personalised treatment.

The government said local health chiefs could decide, while the BMA said cuts made for purely financial reasons would be “immoral”.

The hospital bed count has been falling for decades, but Reforms’s call represents a more rapid programme than has been seen in recent years.

There were just under 300,000 beds in 1987, but by last year that had fallen to 160,000 as advances in treatment have meant patients do not need to spend as long in hospital.

However, the majority of the closures happened during the 1990s and the think tank believes politicians now need to be brave about pushing ahead with reform – even if that led to some hospitals being closed or downgraded.

Read more at BBC Health.

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