asked Her Majesty's Government:
What, of the average daily number of available hospital beds (stated to be 343,000 in Hansard, 12th June 1985, col. 1230), was the average percentage occupied; and in which hospitals and in which regions was the percentage of beds occupied substantially lower than the national average.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health and Social Security (Baroness Trumpington)
In 1983, the latest year for which information is available centrally, there were 343,091 beds available daily on average in NHS hopsitals in England. Of these, 276,429 or 80.6 per cent. were occupied. Regional figures were all close to the national average, ranging from 78.5 per cent. in Northern region to 84.3 per cent. in South-West Thames region. Percentage bed occupancy is not a good indicator of efficient bed use because figures are based on a midnight count and do not therefore inlcude the use of beds by patients who do not stay overnight. It is not possible to give a meaningful analysis of the variation in occupancy rates among individual hospitals, as much depends on the type of hospital and the types of cases with which it deals. For example, maternity hospitals have relatively low occupancy rates because of the need to cope with unpredictable admissions.