Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has called on the Labour government in Wales to reverse its cuts to the number of hospital beds in Wales to protect patient’s safety.
Her call comes in the light of the Labour UK Shadow Health Secretary who has warned of a “crisis” over the number of available ward beds, who said:
“It is completely unacceptable that the 85 per cent bed occupancy target for general and acute hospital services has been missed every quarter for more than seven years, resulting in patient safety being compromised on a regular basis.”
Leanne Wood pointed out that in Wales, occupancy rates had remained above the “safe occupancy rate” of 85% since 2011 with a latest figure of 87.4%. She said that the risk to patients had been intensified by the Labour government’s decision to cut the number of available hospital beds.
Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said:
“When we need more capacity in the NHS, and when that should have been planned for, the Labour administration has cut the number of hospital beds in Wales. This has kept bed occupancy rates above the safe level of 85% for a number of years. Experts say that when occupancy is pushed above this level it poses a risk to patients because it can lead to the spread of disease or viruses.
“Poor political management through failure to properly plan, especially in terms of the workforce, is a factor. Plaid Cymru’s proposals for a thousand extra doctors have be largely ignored by a Labour government that thinks it knows best.
“The Labour government in Wales has cut the number of hospital beds by more than a thousand since 2011 and as a result the bed occupancy rate has increased. There’s a simple answer here – Labour needs to reverse these cuts for the sake of patient safety. If it’s a good enough issue to campaign on in England, Labour should put it into practice in Wales where they can.”