Expenditure and capacity of the NHS – John Redwood’s Diary


The NHS needs more capacity to lower waiting lists. During the pandemic, the NHS provided far more beds in Nightingale units in case pandemic cases became too large. They resisted the advice to use these facilities for all covid work to keep general hospital infection free and able to carry on their regular work. As a result, we have a large backlog.

Huge sums of additional money have been made available to the NHS to manage the one-off costs of dealing with the pandemic and dealing with waiting lists. To cut the waiting lists we may need more beds in the NHS. It was one of the features of the NHS that managers have always chosen to operate with relatively few beds compared to the workload and they said they aim to make a very productive use of these beds. It leads to problems with so-called bed blockers and how easy it is to send patients for community care or convalescence at other NHS institutions besides the district general hospital.

It should certainly be relatively easy to provide multiple beds. Some of the bedding and equipment acquired for nightingales may be available to get you started. The NHS could also set up specialized units in different properties to undertake procedures such as cataract removal or other simpler surgeries away from the DG hospital.

Apparently the new problem is the number of staff needed. Of course, just adding beds is not needed without enough nurses and doctors to administer to the extra patients. I understand that the NHS currently has a lot of open vacancies for candidates, with far more places allowed in the budget than NHS staff. The NHS needs to see what it can do to encourage qualified people to return to their jobs and what can be done to promote more people through education and training. The NHS should also consider the work balance between highly skilled doctors and nurses and other staff to see if more care can be safely delivered to physicians trained to provide great service to more patients.


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