NHS Lothians to axe hospital beds in favour of home treatment

File picture: Greg Macvean
File picture: Greg Macvean
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HUNDREDS of hospital beds are to be axed in the Lothians under NHS plans to treat more people in their homes.

Edinburgh Royal Infirmary would lose 122 beds, while 80 would go at the Western General and a further 20 at St John’s Hospital in Livingston, according to documents seen by the Evening News.

Two more beds would be axed from Diagnostics, Anaesthetics and Critical Care services across the Lothians.

The cuts have been drawn up as part of NHS and Scottish Government plans to plough more resources into social care, in a bid to solve ongoing bed-blocking woes, which have led to scheduled operations being cancelled due to lack of space.

Labour Lothian candidate Sarah Boyack said the bed closures showed that the NHS had been starved of cash and accused SNP ministers of failing to protect health services.

She said: “NHS Lothian is already struggling to cope given its underfunding. We need to give our NHS the support and resources it needs.”

Jim Crombie, chief officer of acute services at NHS Lothian, said: “Our board members were presented with a range of options to consider for best delivering the board’s vision and corporate objectives.

“Although numbers of possible bed reductions have not yet been finalised, we will be seeking to deliver the NHS Scotland Vision of supporting more people to live at home or in homely settings and that means a reduced reliance on acute and other hospital inpatient services.”

An SNP spokesman said: “The budget available to NHS Lothian has reached a record high of £1.3 billion – a 50 per cent increase since the SNP came to office – and their workforce has increased by over 1700.

“We have also provided local authorities in Scotland with an additional £250 million to deliver the integration of health and social care, which will ensure that more people are supported at home or in a homely setting.

“NHS Lothian are already working to deliver this vision.”

andrew.whitaker@jpress.co.uk