Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust closes 34 beds

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A Surrey hospital is to close 34 beds as it makes changes to the way its services are run.

Epsom and St Helier Hospitals Trust said patients were being treated more quickly and were spending less time in hospital.

Matthew Hopkins, the trust's chief executive, said there was "no point in staffing empty beds".

"It is important to note that we would never discharge a patient before they were ready to leave hospital," he said.

"The fact is we simply do not need that number of beds at the moment."

New roles

Epsom and St Helier NHS has balanced its books for the past four years but is facing a spending gap this year of about £38m.

The trust said it had recruited an additional six senior doctors to improve the way patients were admitted and discharged.

Hospital managers are also carrying out a restructure of the organisation.

About 425 employees have been invited to apply for new roles but the trust said it did not anticipate making any redundancies.

A spokesman for the public services union, Unison, was unavailable for comment.

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