Offices could be converted into hospital beds to plug shortfall at Peterborough City Hospital

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More than 200 new beds could be needed at Peterborough City Hospital in eight years’ time, it is forecast.

Long-standing plans to convert offices on the fourth floor into wards may be implemented to cope with a rising population, in particular of people aged 65 of above.

Peterborough City Hospital

Peterborough City Hospital

And contingency plans could include further use of the City Care Centre in Thorpe Road.

A report by North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital in Bretton, states if its current plans to expand the number of beds prove to be too costly or are not feasible: “There are alternatives available. Although the City Care Centre is not run by our trust, it represents good quality estate which is not used to the maximum for inpatient activity.”

The hospital regularly has all its beds filled up, averaging 96 per cent bed occupancy across the year.

To reach the national recommendation of 90 per cent bed occupancy it will need, in the worst case scenario, another 206 new beds by 2026, it is estimated.

Schemes underway already include converting side rooms into beds.

Other plans include “reconfiguration” of the women and maternity ward, increased ambulatory care (same day emergency care without needing to be admitted into a bed overnight) and conversion of the fourth floor offices.

The latter would deliver another 64 beds.

Reducing the number of delayed transfers of care (bed blocking) is also expected to free up another 32 beds.

The trust stated that some of the schemes will “require very significant capital expenditure” and that bids to a national pot of money (the Sustainability and Transformation Fund) are being submitted.

The report adds: “Too often we have to operate our hospitals at near capacity, which results in patients waiting too long in our Emergency Departments, and planned operations have to be cancelled to accommodate the additional emergency patients.”