NHS has 6,000 spare beds to offer Covid patients, health minister says

·2 min read
Stock image:  A health minister has said there are 6,000 unoccupied beds  (PA Archive)
Stock image: A health minister has said there are 6,000 unoccupied beds (PA Archive)

There are 6,000 free beds for Covid-19 patients at the NHS if needed, a health minister said.

Edward Argar gave his reassurance that hospitals have a “degree of headroom” at this time in a new interview following the Government’s press briefing which revealed the UK will not be implementing Plan B yet.

The Minister of State for Health at the Department of Health and Social Care cited around 7,000 Covid patients were receiving treatment a day in hospitals across the UK.

But he said there was still the capacity for 6,000 more Covid patients in currently unoccupied beds.

In discussion, Mr Argar suggested monitoring the amount of beds available were key in informing the Government whether Plan B needs to go ahead this winter to stop the NHS from being overwhelmed.

“We do have a degree of headroom at this time,” he told Times Radio.

“We continue to monitor it hour by hour, day by day, to see what’s happening with those figures, both in terms of infection, but also crucially in terms of hospitalisation.

“Our assessment at the moment is the most effective way to continue to control that is for people to get those booster jabs.”

The Government faced calls for to bring in tougher Plan B measures. Plan B would see the return of some coronavirus measures including face masks and work from home.

It comes after Sajid Javid delivered a press briefing outlining the Government’s plan to fight Covid-19.

The Health Secretary revealed the pandemic was “not over” but the Government are not going to implement Plan B at this point.

He said: “This virus will be with us for the long term. It is a threat to our loved ones. We are looking closely at the data, we are not implementing Plan B at this point. We are preparing for all eventualities.

“Today as we approach this critical time. I want to bring you up to date with some of the work we are doing to strength these defences.

“One line defence is treatments. I have some positive news to share today, we should be proud the UK has been at the forefront of cutting edge treatments.”

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