NHS hospitals under pressure: trends in acute activity up to 2022

SMITH Paul, et al
Nuffield Trust
Publication year:
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Using historic national data and population projections, this short paper looks at trends in admissions and bed use over the last few years and explores the likely pressures on hospitals in the future. It reviews trends in acute hospital activity for the period 2006/07 to 2012/13 using hospital episode statistics data, and forecast what demand may be to 2021/22 based on recent trends and demographic pressure. It then consider what the implications of this would be for hospitals. The analysis shows that if admission rates continue to rise, the NHS will need an additional 6.2 million ‘bed days’ by 2022 – which equates to 22 hospitals with 800 beds each. To date, attempts to reduce the numbers of people admitted to hospital through better preventive care have not been very successful on a large scale. Concentrating on ensuring patients can be discharged quickly and do not stay in hospital for long periods may be a more certain strategy. In fact, the analysis shows that significant reductions in lengths of stay can be achieved this way. (Edited publisher abstract)

Subject terms:
hospitals, hospital admission, NHS, prevention, hospital discharge;
Content type:
United Kingdom
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