Tories have unmade almost 5.5 MILLION #NHS bed-spaces a year – so you can’t lie in them

The availability – or lack of it – of NHS hospital beds is big news at the moment and rightly so, with the public imagination caught by the image of toddler Jack Newman, who had to be treated on a makeshift ‘bed’ made of two plastic chairs pushed together because no real bed was available for him.

jack newman.jpg

Even BBC News, which often leaves news unmentioned if it’s inconvenient to the government, is giving the issue a high profile, with its ‘Victoria Derbyshire’ programme including it prominently this morning.

The right-wing press, meanwhile, is styling this a ‘bed-blocking scandal’, which is true as far as it goes – draconian Tory cuts to social care have resulted in huge numbers of frail patients having no safe place to go to from hospital and councils unwilling or unable to bear the cost of their care.

However, this perspective ignores – deliberately? – the truth that the blocking of existing beds is only one end of a dismal story. The other, equally damning part of the equation consists of the drastic cuts to bed numbers that are taking place under the Tories.


Since the Tories took Downing Street, they have removed 14,997 NHS overnight beds. (Data)

That means 5,474,000 fewer bed spaces a year available to NHS patients – and a trolley in a corridor for desperately-ill patients, if they’re ‘lucky’. If they’re not ‘lucky’, then it means plastic chairs for a makeshift bed like little Jack Newman, or being stuck in an ambulance for hours outside A&E – an ambulance that then can’t get to the next emergency.

Existing beds filled by patients that can’t get care, beds that are gone altogether because of a Tory government that considers the NHS a 68-year ‘mistake’. Whichever way you look at it, this is a Tory-created crisis – and in fact, one that they were planning even before they came to power.

Small wonder the Tory-owned and -suborned media are not telling you.

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  1. Hi Steve, I am at a loss to understand why labour are trusted less on the NHS than Teresa May? Something can not be right there. If that is the case then we are in serious trouble. I was worried by the Sleaford result. I know we have never won the seat but their A&E and childrens services are closing and this did not reflect in the polls as we lost ground. The media have a lot to answer for, Jeremy desperately needs both media and voice training. If we lose Copeland that will be awful as their maternity unit is in danger of closing and moving to Carlilse. I am suspicious of the motives of some of the campaigners. To lose Stoke would be the end for Jeremy and labour as a political force. Maybe people want a right wing nationalist party, whatever people want it is difficult to gauge the opinion with any accuracy. I just wish Jeremy would toughen up and withdraw the whip on dissenters. He needs to show authority. Could you imagine backbenchers getting away with the nonsense when blair was in charge? I have to admit to being a little worried at people not coming out in numbers to defend the NHS. Take care Chris

    1. I don’t think they are, Chris. One survey said so, but the question hasn’t been published and the wording can make all the difference. Eoin Clarke’s Twitter feed yesterday had a series of surveys right up to December and in every single one Labour outscores the Tories. I think it’s propaganda, trying to set a narrative to make people think it must be true.

  2. Two significant reports in this morning’s Guardian. They might possibly print a letter on this. The ‘extremely bleak” picture “suggests that 98% of schools face a real-terms reduction in funding by 2019, with the average loss for each primary pupil of £339 and £477 for every secondary pupil”. (Thousands of schools in England face big budget cuts, unions warn, 16 January). Same strategy as for the NHS? (Amid NHS turmoil, more take private cover, same day). Under the smoke screen of “austerity” decimate the public service. Drive us, the public, into the private. Mission accomplished. And people still trust them.

  3. I have stopped trusting polls since I found out the people that commission them always ask for a ‘desired result’, so the results are tweaked and filtered until they get what they want.

  4. I stopped trusting polls when I found out that the people who commission them always ask for a ‘desired result’, so the surveys are tweaked and filtered until that is achieved.

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