In order to provide an effective, safe and efficient service to patients, hospitals must balance the provision of staffed beds against anticipated demand. Historically, the total number of beds has been reducing in line with evolving models of healthcare provision which aim to reduce the frequency and duration of hospital admissions and improve the integration of health and social care services. This strategy aims to improve outcomes for patients and reduce the likelihood of future hospital admissions.
Available Beds by Specialty & NHS Board of Treatment
Information presented covers financial years 2003/04 to 2012/13, and provides details on average available staffed beds, occupancy rates, length of stay and throughput by specialty at Scotland level and by NHS Board of treatment.
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Information is presented for the quarters ending March 2012 to March 2014 and provides details of the average number of available staffed beds, occupancy rates, length of stay and throughput by specialty at Scotland level and by NHS Board of treatment.
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Due to ongoing ISD(S)1 data submission problems and high level of data estimation employed for a number of health boards, ISD have asked some boards to provide additional quality assurance of Average Available Beds figures for the December 2013 publication.
NHS Argyll & Clyde ceased to exist at 1st April 2006. NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and NHS Highland board areas were revised to include Argyll & Clyde. Data is shown for these new boards from 2007, and for the previous years by mapping Argyll & Clyde data to include with Greater Glasgow and Highland data.
The Scottish Health Service Costs publication (known as the Costs Book) also contains data on average staffed beds by hospital for 2012/13 - Costs Reference Information (in the Hospital Profiles section).
Caution should be taken when comparing Scottish beds data with information from the rest of the UK as there are likely to be key differences in analysis methodologies and data collection processes. The Office of National Statistics United Kingdom Health Statistics 2010 publication provides a single point of reference for the comparison of key figures between the four constituent countries of the UK. Hospital bed statistics can be found within chapter 8. Whilst the four UK countries worked collaboratively to maximise the comparability of the figures, it is important to note that differences between the countries remain in the way that data measures are collected and classified, and because of differences between countries in the organisation of health and social services. The report includes the details of these differences where relevant.
For specific beds information for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, please refer to the following links:
The Department of Health (DoH) publish statistics on bed use in the NHS in England:
The Welsh Government produce statistics on NHS beds and their use wales.gov.uk/docs/statistics/2011/111025sdr1912011en.pdf
In Northern Ireland, the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPSNI) bed use statistics on their website: