Shocking numbers on NHS bed cuts expose why NHS is collapsing under COVID

Beds reduced by 32% while population has risen 14%. NHS was in collapse long before pandemic

NHS bed cuts have made trolley waits in corridors a routine sight in hospitals

A summary circulating among doctors puts in the simplest terms why the Tories are entirely to blame for the collapse of the NHS under the stresses of coronavirus pandemic:

The number of hospital beds in the UK in 2000 was 240,000. By the end of 2019, that number had fallen to 164,000.

A reduction of 32% in two decades.

The UK population in 2000 was 59 million. By mid-2019, the UK population had risen to just under 67 million.

An increase of 14%.

In addition, the percentage of the population aged over 65 increases every year.

As the summary being passed around medics’ WhatsApp groups observers:

It doesn’t take a genius to see that all these trends, coupled to a large number of unfilled NHS clinical posts have led to the NHS being so under threat by virtue of a pandemic.

NHS ‘winter’ crises were already happening all year round – despite underhand rationing of NHS services – long before the pandemic arrived. The collapse of the NHS now is entirely a consequence of a decade of Conservative government and real-terms cuts.

The SKWAWKBOX needs your help. The site is provided free of charge but depends on the support of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here to set up a monthly donation via GoCardless (SKWAWKBOX will contact you to confirm the GoCardless amount). Thanks for your solidarity so SKWAWKBOX can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.


  1. What’s happened to the Nightingale hospitals? This is the very reason that they were built, wasn’t it?

    1. I think they were built on the whim of someone who saw the Chinese model. Someone who didn’t understand our inability to staff them or the appalling beauracracy of the NHS which meant that to administer vaccines people had to jump through impossible hoops when a bin man could do the job with an hour’s training.

      1. We don’t need to train our NHS staff…..we can import them ‘ready trained’ & tell the world how liberal we are. No need to train nor educate British kids.

      2. Hmm – who do we know stupid enough to spend billions on a whim – who also knows fuck all about the NHS – but also has the power to issue such an order…
        I know – you must mean Trunt, right?

    2. They were built purely to reassure the public that the Govt was taking Covid seriously and doing something about it. Which of course was always bollocks!

    3. They never had the staff to man these hospitals. They did it because China built a hospital in 7 days and they wanted to bask in reflected glory. the tories liked the optics of it, not the reality.

    4. Along with the cut in the number of beds comes a corresponding cut in ward staff levels. The problem with the Nightingales is that there are no staff, which is why they’re wheeling in the army.

    1. I’m unsure of bed numbers but NuLabour for all its faults recruited, trained and housed with key worker status 50,000 new nurses under Blair. They also extended privatisation prospects with PFIs, public/private initiatives and expanding the internal market.
      The NHS has for many years been under attack by the Tories, many of whom have openly called for it to be replaced with insurance (Hunt). Every time a Labour government is elected, the first term is taken up with trying to play catch-up, they have never managed to get ahead and many of the expensively trained nurses later left when pay and conditions didn’t match their training.
      Current political dogma has Johnson’s populism unlikely to initiate further cuts while Starmer’s liberals might be more likely to further extend private initiatives.

      1. Blair’s EU globalist solution to everything was to import cheap labour. He didn’t need to train more doctors & nurses.The question still remains, why didn’t Blair incorporate the OAP Care Homes into the NHS, providing decent terms & conditions of employment to ‘Philipino Care Workers?’ He didn’t need to.

        Incidentally, Blair is on record having recently stated that one vaccination per person is preferable, rather than completing the dose. Clever politician but medically trained?

      2. timfrom, correct, Brown did sell off much of our gold, which is a constant criticism made by many Tories but the case was made at the time that it was virtually useless sitting there doing nothing. Nobody could foresee the future, therefore it was sold in an auction to the highest bidders and the cash used to invest in infastuctre projects, the value of which has outpaced that of the gold. Even if we still had the gold, it would probably still be sitting there looking all shiny and nice but what good would it do?

    2. Paul Smith, few here would defend New Labour on any issue – Blair being Thatchers’ number one bitch an’all.
      New Labour’s worst crime was sullying socialism’s name, not least by the coward Brown failing to defend it against the “Labour overspending” blameshifting nonsense.

      1. Yes. In Blair’s second term, Mr Prudent (Brown) was completely obsessed with balancing the budget and any gains to the NHS were undone.

      2. And in Blair’s 3rd term, Mr Financial Genius (Brown) sold off our gold reserves at the bottom of the market. Gold has been growing in value ever since…

      3. Yes, what a prick. He publicised ahead of time, his intentions which caused the price to slump. I’m still not certain why he did it, they say it was to rescue J P Morgan but I can’t remember the details.

      4. 😉 I bet you remember him constantly preening himself in front of audiences filled with dinnersuited ‘masters of the universe’ and boasting that he’d “cured boom & bust” though?
        The fact they ALL believed the buffoon and were as clueless as him that he was living on Twatch/Raygun bubblemoney should have alerted everyone to the facts.
        Particularly the fact that they are where they are through luck not judgement.

  2. since the tories have been in to 2019 there has been 17.000 fewer beds.. It is true that there has been a general decline since the 1980s ,yet the tories came in power 1979 so it is not rocket science to see when the decline began the tories had just come in power. it just kept on then, nothing specific about when Blair was in, he didnt appear to make a radical turn around regarding the decline of the nhs. The tories dont want the nhs ,they are happy to have mental health patients sent by nhs trusts to private healthcare facilities like Cygnet for over a thousand pounds a day, because there are now a lot fewer inpatient beds. Its crazy as it costs a lot more. Cygnet been in the news and CQC have shut some down for staff failings, whereas the truth is mental health services becoming Americanised,which is not good. If the public dont start getting angry ,we wont have an nhs as it will get blamed for failings not its fault but because of underfunding for the last 40 years.

  3. The planning and the makings of privatization go back many years.The Torys have planned and scheemed for over half a century to return the Health of the Nation back to the lottery system that ensured that people of my age were born at home in a bed and relatives helping to deliver the baby.Thats what voting Tory means and the people have forgotten about that and many other deprivations that was “normal” life back then..How the hell do we remind them of just how dangerous the Torys are with a clsssic establishment figure of a”knight of the realm “Sir keir Starmer leading what used to be a Working-class party.The more I read what I have just stated makes me feel even more depressed about the state of the country and the Labour party and the sort of membership that voted for a knight and a people that trust a conservative and unionist party government.Sometimes people just can’t be saved no matter how hard we try.

    1. Just a observation!Look at them protesters,rioters of the right in the US and wonder would we of the left fight and mobilise to stop the carpetbaggers striping our assets,our NHS like the right wing in the US?And is it any wonder that the establishment system of government always wins through?.We aceppt too much from the system and I only wish that we would challenge the establishment system of patronage and greed in the streets and at the gates of downing street and parliament before its too late…But thats probably asking too much of the public isnt it.Could you imagine the reaction of the American people if they had a NHS and they were told its being given away to a foreign group of asset management companys to impose a insurance based monoply?..I am absolutely positive that their would have been blood running inside the doors of Congress and the whole stinking swamp would have been defeated….Just a observation from outside the bubble looking in..!

      1. Did the protestors/rioters in the US change anything whatsoever by protesting and rioting Joseph? NO, of course they didn’t, so why the fuck would you criticise and try to discredit the left – as you Oh-So often DO – by condemning them for NOT protesting and rioting. Jeeze, you come out with such total and absolute B/S crap so as to try and discredit the left, along with dozens and dozens of such posts in relation to Jeremy since you started posting on this site just three months or so before the 2019 GE!

        And you claim yur a left-winger and a JC supporter. Like fuck you are! Yur a fucking right-wing fascist shill posing as a left-winger and a JC supporter!

        Blood running inside the doors of Congress……. oh I bet you thoroughly enjoy yourself concocting and composing such absolute total B/S bollox to dupe readers of skwawkbox with!!

  4. Defunding and destaffing the NHS to make the people hate it and make it privatisable was in a policy paper written in Thatcher’s time – by the Number Ten Policy Unit IIRC – Redwood & Letwin? I really can’t be arsed looking for it again.
    Check this out if you haven’t seen it before – it doesn’t link to the actual document I used to have I don’t think, but it’s the only link I can find just now.

      1. Thanks David interesting reading from the conservative carpetbaggers…I noticed they have the brass neck to charge 2.95for that piece of garbage..!

  5. Thanks David for the document…worth a read.But I must say that whilst I was chairing the NHS defence campaign in the ninetys it was continually being undermined by our own lot,Councillors like myself that were told we should not be standing on picket lines with Unison and others protesting against car park charges intimidation of staff and the mothballing of wards and equipment for the patiants.Tony Blair reneged on the promise to shut down the hated trust system and the executives and corperate baggage that goes with it.the day after the landslide victory over the Torys after nearly 20years in the wilderness.We could have done anything with a landslide majority and all we did was cement the establishment place.Completely off message a article in the morning star covering the defeat of the khmer rouge leader and his American backed forces would be worth a look and would also educate people that the secret war against our PM and the peoples democracy party was and his a part of a continuation of American undermining of Cambodia.for strategic reasons of offshore oil and gas in the S China sea. and the rush to stop the Chinese in there own backyard. America funded the khmer rouge and even supplied weapons long after the world became aware of the genocide going on here.For those like SH and others who wish to spread propoganda against our PM and the peoples party its a simple “You should be ashamed of yourself” to try to undermine a country that has suffered so much in the past and still do with a legacy of illegal chemical weapons used against our people that still shows in the birth defects among us today including my own grandson and many others in the rural.areas around us.Luckily we had the money and Veitnam Hanoi hospital had the expertise to perform micro surgery on a young baby of only a month old….God help the brits if the NHS is destroyed because even minor treatment is beyond the pockets of most people….and for those with pre existing problems…you are excluded with most insurance.My son in law in the US quickly found that out and the rest of the family who are only allowed so much for their treatment in Florida.before you pay.

  6. Worth reading the morning star which comments on victory against the US supported Khmer rouge by the Cambodia \Vietnamese peoples alliance nearly forty two years ago.The propoganda war against Cambodia still carrys on even more than forty five years ago since the USA dropped millions of tons of bombs including chemical weapons on the people of rural Cambodia in a illegal and secret war against the Cambodian population..Worth mentioning because the legacy of chemical war in the rice fields still shows up today in the population,including my grandson…who thanks to the brilliance of Vietnamese surgeons has a proper internal plumbing system and a orifice for waste just like any other little boy….The evil of mines ,bombs,and Chemical weapons still stalks the rice fields today…and still the CIA stalk the planet using NGOs and Washington trained insurgents.Dont expect anything to change under new management in the US..And if there is a Hell then god damm LBJ Johnson ,and Kissinger too hell eternal…!

    1. Memories of marching almost every month chanting “Hey hey LBJ, how many kids have you killed today!”. MSM soon learn how to ignore some marches & promote others… we have the wrong type of protester.
      In Britain, news about the Vietnam War & ‘body bags’were seldom covered, with the odd reference to the death of Dr.Martin Luther King. As my Christian Brother tutor said……’not your problem’.

      1. Peaceful sit-ins and marches only got superficial coverage, it’s true.
        Nobody ever proved that protesters deliberately goaded the police into violence, or that barricades forced riot police to attack instead of being built to defend protesters from their attacks – but those actions did get the media’s attention, and a previously apathetic public did begin to support the anti-war movement 😉
        Just sayin’

  7. …….just an off topic aside but; I wonder if the IHRA definition of anti-semitic tropes was written with Richard Sharp in mind?

  8. What people should remember is, since the internal market was introduced, the NHS is a business and empty beds are unproductive.

  9. Why is everything up for sale? Look at Tory MPs.
    Every last one would love to be an ‘entrepreneur’ if they only had the brains or the balls – but all they have is the envy that drives the acquisitiveness, not the intellect that satisfies it.

    They look at the superyacht class jealously and think “I’m at least as important to society as they are – why haven’t I got a superyacht? I’m shamefully underpaid, that’s why. How can I use my position to make some real money?”
    Their only chance is corruption – why would we even hope for anything different from such people?

  10. Or you could become a Tory MP’s bestest friend and pick up an extremely lucrative contract to supply the thingamabob that’s gonna make you a millionaire.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: