- The funding is part of a plan to reduce waiting times for patients across the UK.
The NHS will receive £250m to open a further 900 hospital beds in a campaign to cut waiting times and ease pressure on emergency care this winter.
The funding is part of a plan to increase capacity so ambulances can get patients to A&E faster and quickly respond to new calls.
But health leaders expressed concern last night that some of the beds will not be available until January, which may be too late to prevent another crisis.
Last winter, callers faced record waits for ambulances as a shortage of beds caused paramedics to queue outside hospitals to drop off patients.
Thirty NHS organizations in England will benefit from the new capital investment. It will be used to develop or expand urgent treatment centers and same-day services, allowing patients to be seen quickly without being admitted to hospital.
(File photo) The NHS will receive £250m to open 900 more hospital beds in a campaign to reduce waiting times
(File photo) Health leaders expressed concern last night that some of the beds will not be available until January.
The schemes will also include more care beds, assessment spaces and cubicles in A&E.
Rishi Sunak said: “Reducing waiting lists is one of my top five priorities, so this year the Government has started planning for the winter earlier and the public can rest assured that we are supporting the NHS with the resources it needs.” .
“These 900 new beds will mean more people can be treated quickly, speeding the flow through hospitals and reducing waits for treatment.”
The NHS urgent and emergency care recovery plan, published in January, pledged to provide more than 5,000 additional fully-staffed permanent hospital beds in total by this winter.
The Government said the 900 beds announced yesterday were part of this commitment and the NHS expects most of the schemes to be completed by January.
Among those expected to benefit are West London’s Northwick Park Hospital, which will receive £22.6 million to open a 32-bed modular cabin-style ward, and Peterborough City Hospital, which will receive 12.5 million pounds sterling to fit 72 beds into unused non-clinical space.
Amanda Pritchard, Chief Executive of NHS England, said: “Winter is a very busy time for the NHS, so it is only right that we put plans in place as soon as possible to increase capacity and help frontline staff prepare for pressure additional”.
(File photo) The funding is part of a plan to increase capacity so ambulances can drop patients off at A&E faster and quickly respond to new calls.
Miriam Deakin, from NHS Providers, said the trusts would welcome additional support and that increasing the number of beds “could close the gap between capacity and demand, meaning patients could be seen sooner.”
But he added: “This is just one piece of a much bigger puzzle.
‘Not only will these new beds need to be staffed, but issues including labor shortages, lack of investment in capital and the need for social care reform will hamper progress unless they are addressed. .
‘With winter being the busiest time of year for urgent and emergency care, trusted leaders will be very concerned that this additional capacity will only be ready for January. For best results, trusts would need these new beds before winter sets in.