Basildon Hospital's extra beds plan to 'relieve pressure'

Basildon Hospital Basildon Hospital could move recovering patients to wards off-site

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A hospital being inspected by the government over its high death rates has revealed plans for 80 extra beds.

Basildon Hospital chief executive Clare Panniker said the increase would ease pressure on its accident and emergency department and stop bed blocking.

The £1m beds plan involves moving some recovering patients to wards off-site staffed by doctors and GPs.

Mrs Panniker said the hospital had patients "not necessarily on the right wards".

She said it created an "inefficient practice".

'System under strain'

Basildon's accident and emergency department has seen a 7% rise in patients over the past year.

Almost half of the 300 patients seen each day have minor illnesses.

"It is a real issue for Basildon Hospital because it puts the whole system under strain," said Mrs Panniker.

She said the hospital had a bed occupancy rate of 93%.

The £1m cost of the extra beds would be, partly funded by reducing spend on agency staff, and could be in place by the autumn.

Basildon Hospital already runs 25 beds at Brentwood Community Hospital.

A review of Basildon is being conducted by NHS medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh and follows the inquiry into hundreds of deaths at Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust.

Basildon Hospital had 3,186 deaths between April 2010 and April 2012.

In the two years to October 2012, there were 544 more deaths than expected.

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