Tag Archives: being

What is being done to tackle the NHS workforce crisis?

Concerns about the health and social care workforce are at an all-time high due, in part, to the impact of austerity, Brexit and the lessons learned from the Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal.

There has been a 96% drop in the number of EU nurses registering to work in the UK. Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) figures published in June showed a marked decline from a high of 1,304 in July 2016, to 344 in September, and then just 46 EU nurse registrants in April 2017.

Any indication that the UK is becoming a less attractive place to work is naturally a cause for alarm, especially as social care and health services will continue to depend on workers from outside the UK in the short to medium term. Actions by the government to reassure European Economic Area citizens and by the regulator to improve its processes are welcome, although much still needs to be done.

One example is the Cavendish Coalition, a group of 35 health and social care organisations that came together in the wake of the referendum result to address the workforce implications of Brexit.

A number of organisations are also working together to respond to the concerns of the workforce and to keep more of them working within the NHS and social care. While much attention has focused on the impact of seven years of pay restraint, other areas need to be addressed, including funding of postgraduate education, access to affordable accommodation, the poorer experience of BME colleagues, greater flexibility, and better use of technology.

Retaining talented staff is therefore crucial in the immediate term, but we must look at what we need to do to attract people to the healthcare sector in the longer term. NHS Employers’ own work in this area is stepping up, with a briefing document launched at its annual workforce summit, held in Liverpool in June, covering ways to bring in, and then consequently keep, local talent over the longer term.

There are plenty of instances of good practice from employers taking steps in this area, which we highlight.

South Tees hospitals NHS foundation trust works with Jobcentre Plus to offer a 12-week pre-employment scheme, which provides certain mental health service users with opportunities to get back into work through structured learning and vocational experience.

Meanwhile, Chelsea and Westminster hospital NHS foundation trust and Imperial College London medical school offer a scheme called MedEx summer school, which provides four-day work experience to year 12 students. It’s aimed specifically at students from underprivileged backgrounds who show talent for and interest in medicine.

Public Health England (PHE) uses the Project Search initiative, with a programme supporting young people with learning disabilities or who are on the autistic spectrum through a 10-month rotating work experience scheme, alongside specially tailored coaching and on-the-job training.

NHS Employers itself also has a number of programmes designed to help employers look differently at attracting and retaining a talented and diverse workforce, including practical support and information on apprenticeships, support to engage with young people via its ThinkFuture campaign, and briefings to encourage and support practices such as improving access to employment for people with mental illness.

The greater part of our workforce is sourced from the UK, and there is more we can and will do in that area. We need, however, to combine our focus on increasing domestic efforts with ensuring that the country develops a post-Brexit immigration system that won’t be detrimental to health and care.

There are many challenges facing the NHS, and more broadly, health and social care, regarding the availability of our workforce. We will continue to challenge the government to support better supply and retention, but we must also challenge ourselves to improve access to employment and to retain the people we already have through better quality workplaces and work.

Join the Healthcare Professionals Network to read more pieces like this. And follow us on Twitter (@GdnHealthcare) to keep up with the latest healthcare news and views.

If you’re looking for a healthcare job or need to recruit staff, visit Guardian Jobs.

What is being done to tackle the NHS workforce crisis?

Concerns about the health and social care workforce are at an all-time high due, in part, to the impact of austerity, Brexit and the lessons learned from the Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal.

There has been a 96% drop in the number of EU nurses registering to work in the UK. Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) figures published in June showed a marked decline from a high of 1,304 in July 2016, to 344 in September, and then just 46 EU nurse registrants in April 2017.

Any indication that the UK is becoming a less attractive place to work is naturally a cause for alarm, especially as social care and health services will continue to depend on workers from outside the UK in the short to medium term. Actions by the government to reassure European Economic Area citizens and by the regulator to improve its processes are welcome, although much still needs to be done.

One example is the Cavendish Coalition, a group of 35 health and social care organisations that came together in the wake of the referendum result to address the workforce implications of Brexit.

A number of organisations are also working together to respond to the concerns of the workforce and to keep more of them working within the NHS and social care. While much attention has focused on the impact of seven years of pay restraint, other areas need to be addressed, including funding of postgraduate education, access to affordable accommodation, the poorer experience of BME colleagues, greater flexibility, and better use of technology.

Retaining talented staff is therefore crucial in the immediate term, but we must look at what we need to do to attract people to the healthcare sector in the longer term. NHS Employers’ own work in this area is stepping up, with a briefing document launched at its annual workforce summit, held in Liverpool in June, covering ways to bring in, and then consequently keep, local talent over the longer term.

There are plenty of instances of good practice from employers taking steps in this area, which we highlight.

South Tees hospitals NHS foundation trust works with Jobcentre Plus to offer a 12-week pre-employment scheme, which provides certain mental health service users with opportunities to get back into work through structured learning and vocational experience.

Meanwhile, Chelsea and Westminster hospital NHS foundation trust and Imperial College London medical school offer a scheme called MedEx summer school, which provides four-day work experience to year 12 students. It’s aimed specifically at students from underprivileged backgrounds who show talent for and interest in medicine.

Public Health England (PHE) uses the Project Search initiative, with a programme supporting young people with learning disabilities or who are on the autistic spectrum through a 10-month rotating work experience scheme, alongside specially tailored coaching and on-the-job training.

NHS Employers itself also has a number of programmes designed to help employers look differently at attracting and retaining a talented and diverse workforce, including practical support and information on apprenticeships, support to engage with young people via its ThinkFuture campaign, and briefings to encourage and support practices such as improving access to employment for people with mental illness.

The greater part of our workforce is sourced from the UK, and there is more we can and will do in that area. We need, however, to combine our focus on increasing domestic efforts with ensuring that the country develops a post-Brexit immigration system that won’t be detrimental to health and care.

There are many challenges facing the NHS, and more broadly, health and social care, regarding the availability of our workforce. We will continue to challenge the government to support better supply and retention, but we must also challenge ourselves to improve access to employment and to retain the people we already have through better quality workplaces and work.

Join the Healthcare Professionals Network to read more pieces like this. And follow us on Twitter (@GdnHealthcare) to keep up with the latest healthcare news and views.

If you’re looking for a healthcare job or need to recruit staff, visit Guardian Jobs.

What is being done to tackle the NHS workforce crisis?

Concerns about the health and social care workforce are at an all-time high due, in part, to the impact of austerity, Brexit and the lessons learned from the Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal.

There has been a 96% drop in the number of EU nurses registering to work in the UK. Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) figures published in June showed a marked decline from a high of 1,304 in July 2016, to 344 in September, and then just 46 EU nurse registrants in April 2017.

Any indication that the UK is becoming a less attractive place to work is naturally a cause for alarm, especially as social care and health services will continue to depend on workers from outside the UK in the short to medium term. Actions by the government to reassure European Economic Area citizens and by the regulator to improve its processes are welcome, although much still needs to be done.

One example is the Cavendish Coalition, a group of 35 health and social care organisations that came together in the wake of the referendum result to address the workforce implications of Brexit.

A number of organisations are also working together to respond to the concerns of the workforce and to keep more of them working within the NHS and social care. While much attention has focused on the impact of seven years of pay restraint, other areas need to be addressed, including funding of postgraduate education, access to affordable accommodation, the poorer experience of BME colleagues, greater flexibility, and better use of technology.

Retaining talented staff is therefore crucial in the immediate term, but we must look at what we need to do to attract people to the healthcare sector in the longer term. NHS Employers’ own work in this area is stepping up, with a briefing document launched at its annual workforce summit, held in Liverpool in June, covering ways to bring in, and then consequently keep, local talent over the longer term.

There are plenty of instances of good practice from employers taking steps in this area, which we highlight.

South Tees hospitals NHS foundation trust works with Jobcentre Plus to offer a 12-week pre-employment scheme, which provides certain mental health service users with opportunities to get back into work through structured learning and vocational experience.

Meanwhile, Chelsea and Westminster hospital NHS foundation trust and Imperial College London medical school offer a scheme called MedEx summer school, which provides four-day work experience to year 12 students. It’s aimed specifically at students from underprivileged backgrounds who show talent for and interest in medicine.

Public Health England (PHE) uses the Project Search initiative, with a programme supporting young people with learning disabilities or who are on the autistic spectrum through a 10-month rotating work experience scheme, alongside specially tailored coaching and on-the-job training.

NHS Employers itself also has a number of programmes designed to help employers look differently at attracting and retaining a talented and diverse workforce, including practical support and information on apprenticeships, support to engage with young people via its ThinkFuture campaign, and briefings to encourage and support practices such as improving access to employment for people with mental illness.

The greater part of our workforce is sourced from the UK, and there is more we can and will do in that area. We need, however, to combine our focus on increasing domestic efforts with ensuring that the country develops a post-Brexit immigration system that won’t be detrimental to health and care.

There are many challenges facing the NHS, and more broadly, health and social care, regarding the availability of our workforce. We will continue to challenge the government to support better supply and retention, but we must also challenge ourselves to improve access to employment and to retain the people we already have through better quality workplaces and work.

Join the Healthcare Professionals Network to read more pieces like this. And follow us on Twitter (@GdnHealthcare) to keep up with the latest healthcare news and views.

If you’re looking for a healthcare job or need to recruit staff, visit Guardian Jobs.

Man up, guys – you’re a snip away from being heroes

In the four years since my daughter was born it has become a regular and uncomfortable occurrence that my wife and I wait nervously for proof that we haven’t been caught out by our relaxed attitude to contraception. So I decided to put an end to it once and for all by having the snip. I made the decision some time ago, my wife and I having agreed that we didn’t want to expand our family beyond the two children we already have. So I went to see my GP for a referral.

All well and good. The consultation took five minutes and I was sent the paperwork from the clinic asking me to book an appointment. When I finally got round to calling and explained that it had been a while since I had been referred, I was amazed when they said that it had been two years ago.

Two years?! Had my initial enthusiasm really been defeated by procrastination for two whole years? Apparently so. In time, I began to realise that the long hiatus was not simply inertia on my part, or that I had “been away” as I had told the clinic’s receptionist (been away? What was I thinking? Prison? Abduction?), but instead was part of a complicated pattern of male behaviour that strives at all costs not to take the lead in matters of contraception.

In my defence, my wife, whom I have been with for 11 years, has never been on the pill and we have never been any good (I have never been any good) at doing anything else about it, relying on my athletic ability to withdraw from the situation, so to speak, before any permanent commitment has been made.

I find it extraordinary that, according to the NHS website, there are 12 types of female-specific contraception available, yet only two, currently, for men – condoms and vasectomy (three, if you count withdrawal). I remember my mother going to hospital to be sterilised in the 1980s, a moment that stayed with me because of the sheer unpleasantness of the term, which is still more often used for women, it seems. (Maybe that’s because “tubal occlusion” sounds even less appealing.) I have known women have contraceptive implants that played havoc with their mental health, and I have watched others consume industrial amounts of medicine over their adult lives to keep the babies at bay. And, of course, I understand that there is a difference between temporary and permanent methods, but still, for plenty of couples who have decided they don’t want any (more) children, it seems the responsibility continues to remain with women to make sure they don’t get pregnant. It’s women who often have to experiment with several methods to see what suits them best when there is a male cure-all available.


It is an appalling prospect, which as men we are hard-wired to avoid

When I finally got round to having a vasectomy, people were quick to offer helpful insights. “I hear it’s the smell of burning flesh that is the worst thing.” “You know there is a risk of permanent pain? Permanent, like, for ever …” “Do you actually know what they do to your nutsack?” Others, who spoke from experience, more helpfully advised that it was a bit painful, but not for long and that the after-effects were minimal. And having watched my son being born by caesarean, I would have found it very difficult to use “it doesn’t sound very nice” as a reason not to have a vasectomy.

Nonetheless, if I give a brief description of the procedure, all carried out before your very awake eyes, it’s likely that most male readers may feel rather queasy. A doctor rolls your knackers around in his hands until he finds the tube (vas) on each side, before inserting a needle through the scrotum into each one to inject anaesthetic, then slitting your sack open, pulling the tubes out, splitting them, cutting them, sealing them and finally pushing it all back in before sending you on your way.

It is an appalling prospect, which as men we are hard-wired to avoid. Everything about our nads, from the fact that they can be the source of such exquisite and unparalleled pain, to their position outside our body cavities, keeping them at the perfect sperm-producing temperature, reflects their importance to our species. But if you can override those protective measures (and medicine is very effective at doing that, chaps!), then it is just the mental barrier you need to overcome. So give yourself time to think about it; about the fact that if you’ve had children already, their mother has been through infinitely more discomfort than this procedure will cause.

Think about the simplicity that half an hour on a doctor’s bench will bring to your life, and also consider the fact that it really is about time you took responsibility for your swimmers. After a week, the aching had all but left and apart from no longer being bald only on my head, all was pretty well normal.

However – and this is important – try not to be a martyr about it once you have decided to go ahead, as I did. “No, I don’t need you to come with me, it’s just a little cut, I’ll be fine to drive home! Of course I’ll pick the kids up from school in the afternoon.” Knowing that I would wither in the face of pain as the anaesthetic wore off, my wife secretly arranged for a friend to collect the children and look after them. How grateful I was. When she got home that evening and found me in bed, she asked how I was.

“Oh it’s fine, really, you know, it’s not like …”

“Being in labour for 36 hours?”

“Doesn’t need to be a competition,” I grumbled, desperately trying to think of a time when I had been in severe pain that long. (Never.)

So when the doctor advises bed rest, resist the voice of your testosterone – it’s good advice. And when you finally rise again, you can allow yourself just a little smugness: you’ll be half – and twice – the man you were.

Man up, guys – you’re a snip away from being heroes

In the four years since my daughter was born it has become a regular and uncomfortable occurrence that my wife and I wait nervously for proof that we haven’t been caught out by our relaxed attitude to contraception. So I decided to put an end to it once and for all by having the snip. I made the decision some time ago, my wife and I having agreed that we didn’t want to expand our family beyond the two children we already have. So I went to see my GP for a referral.

All well and good. The consultation took five minutes and I was sent the paperwork from the clinic asking me to book an appointment. When I finally got round to calling and explained that it had been a while since I had been referred, I was amazed when they said that it had been two years ago.

Two years?! Had my initial enthusiasm really been defeated by procrastination for two whole years? Apparently so. In time, I began to realise that the long hiatus was not simply inertia on my part, or that I had “been away” as I had told the clinic’s receptionist (been away? What was I thinking? Prison? Abduction?), but instead was part of a complicated pattern of male behaviour that strives at all costs not to take the lead in matters of contraception.

In my defence, my wife, whom I have been with for 11 years, has never been on the pill and we have never been any good (I have never been any good) at doing anything else about it, relying on my athletic ability to withdraw from the situation, so to speak, before any permanent commitment has been made.

I find it extraordinary that, according to the NHS website, there are 12 types of female-specific contraception available, yet only two, currently, for men – condoms and vasectomy (three, if you count withdrawal). I remember my mother going to hospital to be sterilised in the 1980s, a moment that stayed with me because of the sheer unpleasantness of the term, which is still more often used for women, it seems. (Maybe that’s because “tubal occlusion” sounds even less appealing.) I have known women have contraceptive implants that played havoc with their mental health, and I have watched others consume industrial amounts of medicine over their adult lives to keep the babies at bay. And, of course, I understand that there is a difference between temporary and permanent methods, but still, for plenty of couples who have decided they don’t want any (more) children, it seems the responsibility continues to remain with women to make sure they don’t get pregnant. It’s women who often have to experiment with several methods to see what suits them best when there is a male cure-all available.


It is an appalling prospect, which as men we are hard-wired to avoid

When I finally got round to having a vasectomy, people were quick to offer helpful insights. “I hear it’s the smell of burning flesh that is the worst thing.” “You know there is a risk of permanent pain? Permanent, like, for ever …” “Do you actually know what they do to your nutsack?” Others, who spoke from experience, more helpfully advised that it was a bit painful, but not for long and that the after-effects were minimal. And having watched my son being born by caesarean, I would have found it very difficult to use “it doesn’t sound very nice” as a reason not to have a vasectomy.

Nonetheless, if I give a brief description of the procedure, all carried out before your very awake eyes, it’s likely that most male readers may feel rather queasy. A doctor rolls your knackers around in his hands until he finds the tube (vas) on each side, before inserting a needle through the scrotum into each one to inject anaesthetic, then slitting your sack open, pulling the tubes out, splitting them, cutting them, sealing them and finally pushing it all back in before sending you on your way.

It is an appalling prospect, which as men we are hard-wired to avoid. Everything about our nads, from the fact that they can be the source of such exquisite and unparalleled pain, to their position outside our body cavities, keeping them at the perfect sperm-producing temperature, reflects their importance to our species. But if you can override those protective measures (and medicine is very effective at doing that, chaps!), then it is just the mental barrier you need to overcome. So give yourself time to think about it; about the fact that if you’ve had children already, their mother has been through infinitely more discomfort than this procedure will cause.

Think about the simplicity that half an hour on a doctor’s bench will bring to your life, and also consider the fact that it really is about time you took responsibility for your swimmers. After a week, the aching had all but left and apart from no longer being bald only on my head, all was pretty well normal.

However – and this is important – try not to be a martyr about it once you have decided to go ahead, as I did. “No, I don’t need you to come with me, it’s just a little cut, I’ll be fine to drive home! Of course I’ll pick the kids up from school in the afternoon.” Knowing that I would wither in the face of pain as the anaesthetic wore off, my wife secretly arranged for a friend to collect the children and look after them. How grateful I was. When she got home that evening and found me in bed, she asked how I was.

“Oh it’s fine, really, you know, it’s not like …”

“Being in labour for 36 hours?”

“Doesn’t need to be a competition,” I grumbled, desperately trying to think of a time when I had been in severe pain that long. (Never.)

So when the doctor advises bed rest, resist the voice of your testosterone – it’s good advice. And when you finally rise again, you can allow yourself just a little smugness: you’ll be half – and twice – the man you were.

Being overweight – not just obese – kills millions a year, say experts

Being overweight – even without being obese – is killing millions of people around the world, according to the most extensive and authoritative study of the global impact ever carried out.

More than two billion adults and children are suffering from health problems in the world because of their weight, says a team of 2,300 experts led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IMHE), based at the University of Washington in Seattle.

In 2015, nearly four million people died from disease related to their weight, most commonly from heart disease. But only 60% were technically obese, which is defined as a body mass index over 30. The other 40%, or 1.6 million people, were overweight but not obese.

The authors of the paper, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, describe “a growing and disturbing global public health crisis”.

The study has figures for 195 countries, using data from 1980 to 2015. In the UK, nearly a quarter of the adult population – 24.2% or 12 million people – is considered obese. One million British children are obese – amounting to 7.5% of all children in the UK.

The numbers for those who are overweight are much higher. Public Health England says that nearly two-thirds of the adult population – 63% – were overweight or obese in 2015. A fifth of children starting primary school aged four to five, and a third leaving it at age 10-11, are overweight or obese.

The study’s experts say too many people assume that they will be fine unless they actually tip into obesity. That’s not so, says professor Azeem Majeed from Imperial College London, one of the study’s authors.

“The risk of death and diseases increases as your weight increases,” he said. “People who are overweight are at high risk of mortality and other diseases [beyond obesity itself].”

Body mass index is the most common measure of obesity and is a ratio between weight and height. It is imperfect on an individual basis, because it does not allow for muscle as opposed to fat, but it can give an accurate assessment of population risk. BMI of 25 to 29 is considered to be overweight, while over 30 is obese.

“People often assume you need to be really fat to be at risk,” said Majeed. “But once you hit a BMI of 25, your risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer all begin to increase.”

Obesity has doubled since 1980 in more than 70 countries and has steadily risen in most of the others. Although the prevalence of obesity among children has been lower than among adults, the rate of increase in childhood obesity in many countries was greater than that of adults.

Among the 20 most populous countries, the highest level of obesity among children and young adults was in the United States, at nearly 13%. Adult obesity was highest in Egypt, at about 35%.

The lowest obesity rates were in Bangladesh and Vietnam, where they were just 1%. China, with 15.3 million, and India, with 14.4 million, had the highest numbers of obese children. The United States, with 79.4 million, and China, with 57.3 million, had the highest numbers of obese adults in 2015.

“People who shrug off weight gain do so at their own risk – risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and other life-threatening conditions,” said Dr Christopher Murray, an author on the study and director of IMHE.

“Those half-serious New Year resolutions to lose weight should become year-round commitments to lose weight and prevent future weight gain.”

Dr Ashkan Afshin, the paper’s lead author and an assistant professor of global health at IHME, said: “Excess body weight is one of the most challenging public health problems of our time, affecting nearly one in every three people.”

The IHME is partnering with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to exchange data on what is driving the epidemic.

“Over the past decade, numerous interventions have been evaluated, but very little evidence exists about their long-term effectiveness,” said Afshin. “Over the next 10 years, we will closely with the FAO in monitoring and evaluating the progress of countries in controlling overweight and obesity. Moreover, we will share data and findings with scientists, policymakers, and other stakeholders seeking evidence-based strategies to address this problem.”

The study shows being overweight or obese is linked to cancers of the oesophagus, colon, rectum, liver, gall bladder, biliary tract, pancreas, breast, womb, kidney, thyroid and leukaemia, as well as heart disease and stroke. It also notes that weight is an important factor behind years lost from disability caused by musculoskeletal disorders.

Cancer patient dies after being denied transfer because of bed shortage

A cancer patient died after he was denied an urgently needed transfer to another hospital because no bed was available, a coroner has said.

Michael Brennan was diagnosed with lung cancer at Whittington hospital, north London, and given a plan to be treated at another hospital if his condition deteriorated overnight.

But when the 80-year-old needed emergency surgery, Westmoreland Street hospital in central London was unable to find him a bed and he died on 24 October last year, a coroner’s report found.

The assistant coroner for Inner London North, Dr Richard Brittain, said that he feared there would be more deaths if the situation was not remedied.

The report was sent to the University College London hospitals NHS trust, which apologised to Brennan’s family in an initial statement.

However, UCLH later issued a statement saying an internal investigation had found there were beds available at its Westmoreland Street hospital and suggested another hospital trust was involved.

Brittain wrote: “In my opinion there is a risk that future deaths will occur unless action is taken.

“I am concerned that this back-up plan relied on the availability of a bed at a satellite hospital, which was ultimately not available when it was required. This raises the concern that the bed status for the Westmoreland Street hospital was not known to the clinicians when this plan was devised.

“It is possible that future deaths could occur in similar circumstances if there is not a system in place to inform clinicians of the current bed status for the trust’s multiple sites.”

According to the coroner’s report, Brennan, a smoker who had been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, underwent a bronchoscopy to investigate why he had been coughing up blood since early 2016.

Doctors at Whittington hospital discovered the lung cancer and tried to stem the bleeding from the lesion but referred him to UCLH amid concerns over his condition.

A clinician at UCLH advised them that, as an interventional bronchoscopy could not be carried out immediately, Brennan should be referred to heart surgeons at Westmoreland Street hospital if his condition deteriorated overnight.

When the team caring for Brennan contacted the hospital that evening, the coroner was told, they were informed there were no beds available.

He was eventually admitted to UCLH intensive therapy unit but died a few days later on 24 October last year, Brittain said.

In a statement, a UCLH spokeswoman offered condolences to Brennan’s family, adding: “Since responding to the coroner’s findings, we have investigated this case further. Our investigation has found we did have beds available at the time.

“We believe the comment that there were no beds available refers to another hospital trust which the Whittington contacted, and not UCLH’s hospital at Westmoreland Street. We will be reporting our findings to the coroner.”

Analysis published by the British Medical Association (BMA) in February found the number of overnight beds in English hospitals fell by a fifth between 2006-07 and 2015-16.

The report found that in the first week of January this year, almost three-quarters of trusts had a bed occupancy rate of 95% on at least one day.

The maximum occupancy rate for ensuring patients are well looked after and not exposed to health risks is considered to be 85%, a figure that has not been achieved since NHS England began publishing statistics in 2010. The Royal College of Surgeons has said there is a chronic shortage of beds.

Cancer patient dies after being denied transfer because of bed shortage

A cancer patient died after he was denied an urgently needed transfer to another hospital because no bed was available, a coroner has said.

Michael Brennan was diagnosed with lung cancer at Whittington hospital, north London, and given a plan to be treated at another hospital if his condition deteriorated overnight.

But when the 80-year-old needed emergency surgery, Westmoreland Street hospital in central London was unable to find him a bed and he died on 24 October last year, a coroner’s report found.

The assistant coroner for Inner London North, Dr Richard Brittain, said that he feared there would be more deaths if the situation was not remedied.

The report was sent to the University College London hospitals NHS trust, which apologised to Brennan’s family in an initial statement.

However, UCLH later issued a statement saying an internal investigation had found there were beds available at its Westmoreland Street hospital and suggested another hospital trust was involved.

Brittain wrote: “In my opinion there is a risk that future deaths will occur unless action is taken.

“I am concerned that this back-up plan relied on the availability of a bed at a satellite hospital, which was ultimately not available when it was required. This raises the concern that the bed status for the Westmoreland Street hospital was not known to the clinicians when this plan was devised.

“It is possible that future deaths could occur in similar circumstances if there is not a system in place to inform clinicians of the current bed status for the trust’s multiple sites.”

According to the coroner’s report, Brennan, a smoker who had been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, underwent a bronchoscopy to investigate why he had been coughing up blood since early 2016.

Doctors at Whittington hospital discovered the lung cancer and tried to stem the bleeding from the lesion but referred him to UCLH amid concerns over his condition.

A clinician at UCLH advised them that, as an interventional bronchoscopy could not be carried out immediately, Brennan should be referred to heart surgeons at Westmoreland Street hospital if his condition deteriorated overnight.

When the team caring for Brennan contacted the hospital that evening, the coroner was told, they were informed there were no beds available.

He was eventually admitted to UCLH intensive therapy unit but died a few days later on 24 October last year, Brittain said.

In a statement, a UCLH spokeswoman offered condolences to Brennan’s family, adding: “Since responding to the coroner’s findings, we have investigated this case further. Our investigation has found we did have beds available at the time.

“We believe the comment that there were no beds available refers to another hospital trust which the Whittington contacted, and not UCLH’s hospital at Westmoreland Street. We will be reporting our findings to the coroner.”

Analysis published by the British Medical Association (BMA) in February found the number of overnight beds in English hospitals fell by a fifth between 2006-07 and 2015-16.

The report found that in the first week of January this year, almost three-quarters of trusts had a bed occupancy rate of 95% on at least one day.

The maximum occupancy rate for ensuring patients are well looked after and not exposed to health risks is considered to be 85%, a figure that has not been achieved since NHS England began publishing statistics in 2010. The Royal College of Surgeons has said there is a chronic shortage of beds.

Cancer patient dies after being denied transfer because of bed shortage

A cancer patient died after he was denied an urgently needed transfer to another hospital because no bed was available, a coroner has said.

Michael Brennan was diagnosed with lung cancer at Whittington hospital, north London, and given a plan to be treated at another hospital if his condition deteriorated overnight.

But when the 80-year-old needed emergency surgery, Westmoreland Street hospital in central London was unable to find him a bed and he died on 24 October last year, a coroner’s report found.

The assistant coroner for Inner London North, Dr Richard Brittain, said that he feared there would be more deaths if the situation was not remedied.

The report was sent to the University College London hospitals NHS trust, which apologised to Brennan’s family in an initial statement.

However, UCLH later issued a statement saying an internal investigation had found there were beds available at its Westmoreland Street hospital and suggested another hospital trust was involved.

Brittain wrote: “In my opinion there is a risk that future deaths will occur unless action is taken.

“I am concerned that this back-up plan relied on the availability of a bed at a satellite hospital, which was ultimately not available when it was required. This raises the concern that the bed status for the Westmoreland Street hospital was not known to the clinicians when this plan was devised.

“It is possible that future deaths could occur in similar circumstances if there is not a system in place to inform clinicians of the current bed status for the trust’s multiple sites.”

According to the coroner’s report, Brennan, a smoker who had been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, underwent a bronchoscopy to investigate why he had been coughing up blood since early 2016.

Doctors at Whittington hospital discovered the lung cancer and tried to stem the bleeding from the lesion but referred him to UCLH amid concerns over his condition.

A clinician at UCLH advised them that, as an interventional bronchoscopy could not be carried out immediately, Brennan should be referred to heart surgeons at Westmoreland Street hospital if his condition deteriorated overnight.

When the team caring for Brennan contacted the hospital that evening, the coroner was told, they were informed there were no beds available.

He was eventually admitted to UCLH intensive therapy unit but died a few days later on 24 October last year, Brittain said.

In a statement, a UCLH spokeswoman offered condolences to Brennan’s family, adding: “Since responding to the coroner’s findings, we have investigated this case further. Our investigation has found we did have beds available at the time.

“We believe the comment that there were no beds available refers to another hospital trust which the Whittington contacted, and not UCLH’s hospital at Westmoreland Street. We will be reporting our findings to the coroner.”

Analysis published by the British Medical Association (BMA) in February found the number of overnight beds in English hospitals fell by a fifth between 2006-07 and 2015-16.

The report found that in the first week of January this year, almost three-quarters of trusts had a bed occupancy rate of 95% on at least one day.

The maximum occupancy rate for ensuring patients are well looked after and not exposed to health risks is considered to be 85%, a figure that has not been achieved since NHS England began publishing statistics in 2010. The Royal College of Surgeons has said there is a chronic shortage of beds.

Cancer patient dies after being denied transfer due to bed shortage

A cancer patient died after he was denied an urgently needed transfer to another hospital because no bed was available, a coroner has said.

Michael Brennan was diagnosed with lung cancer at Whittington hospital, north London, and given a plan to be treated at another hospital if his condition deteriorated overnight.

But when the 80-year-old needed emergency surgery, Westmoreland Street hospital in central London was unable to find him a bed and he died on 24 October last year, a coroner’s report found.

The assistant coroner for Inner London North, Dr Richard Brittain, said that he feared there would be more deaths if the situation was not remedied.

The report was sent to the University College London hospitals NHS trust, which apologised to Brennan’s family in an initial statement. However, UCLH later issued a statement saying an internal investigation had found there were beds available at its Westmoreland Street hospital and suggested another hospital trust was involved.

Brittain wrote: “In my opinion there is a risk that future deaths will occur unless action is taken.

“I am concerned that this back-up plan relied on the availability of a bed at a satellite hospital, which was ultimately not available when it was required. This raises the concern that the bed status for the Westmoreland Street hospital was not known to the clinicians when this plan was devised.

“It is possible that future deaths could occur in similar circumstances if there is not a system in place to inform clinicians of the current bed status for the trust’s multiple sites.”

According to the coroner’s report, Brennan, a smoker who had been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, underwent a bronchoscopy to investigate why he had been coughing up blood since early 2016.

Doctors at Whittington Hospital discovered the lung cancer and tried to stem the bleeding from the lesion but referred him to UCLH amid concerns over his condition.

A clinician at UCLH advised them that, as an interventional bronchoscopy could not be carried out immediately, Brennan should be referred to heart surgeons at Westmoreland Street hospital if his condition deteriorated overnight.

When the team caring for Brennan contacted the hospital that evening, they were told there were no beds available. He was eventually admitted to UCLH intensive therapy unit but died a few days later on 24 October last year, Brittain said.

In a statement, a UCLH spokeswoman offered condolences to Brennan’s family, adding: “Since responding to the coroner’s findings we have investigated this case further. Our investigation has found we did have beds available at the time.

“We believe the comment that there were no beds available refers to another hospital trust which the Whittington contacted, and not UCLH’s hospital at Westmoreland Street. We will be reporting our findings to the coroner.”

Analysis published by the British Medical Association (BMA) in February found the number of overnight beds in English hospitals fell by a fifth between 2006-07 and 2015-16.

The report found that in the first week of January this year, almost three-quarters of trusts had a bed occupancy rate of 95% on at least one day.

The maximum occupancy rate for ensuring patients are well looked after and not exposed to health risks is considered to be 85%, a figure that has not been achieved since NHS England began publishing statistics in 2010. The Royal College of Surgeons has said there is a chronic shortage of beds.