National & International

£1 billion dollar boost in hospital beds and ambulances

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Thousands of extra hospital beds and hundreds of ambulances will be rolled out in England this year in a bid to tackle the long emergency care delays, according to the BBC.

The 5,000 new beds will increase capacity by 5%, while there will be a 10% boost in the ambulance fleet with 800 new vehicles on the road.

Details of the £1bn investment will be set out later in a joint government and NHS England two-year blueprint.

But Labour said the plans were not enough to tackle the problems.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting accused ministers of 13 years of mismanagement and said the plan was effectively “watering down” key standards and would still leave patients waiting longer than is safe.

The government believes the measures, which will be introduced from April, will help the NHS to start getting closer to its waiting time targets.

It has set goals that by March 2024:

  • 76% of A&E patients will be dealt with in four hours. Currently, fewer than 70% are. The official target is 95%
  • An average response time of 30 minutes for emergency calls such as heart attacks and strokes. In December patients waited for over 90. The official target is 18

    Alongside the investment in beds and ambulances, the plan will also see some measures taken over the past year expanded further.

    This includes the creation of virtual wards where patients with conditions such as heart failure receive expert care in their own homes via digital technologies.

    Falls services which provide urgent responses to older people with the aim of avoiding a hospital admission will also be run all-year round.



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