Bedford Hospital was completely full on two days in December

MBTC-Bedford Hospital South Wing. ENGPNL00120130508094846
MBTC-Bedford Hospital South Wing. ENGPNL00120130508094846

Bedford Hospital did not have a single unoccupied bed on two separate days during December, while one in eight ambulances had to wait for 30 minutes to drop off patients.

The new figures, issued by NHS England, show that every single bed in Bedford Hospital was occupied on both December 13 and 27.

This includes the additional ‘escalation beds’ which are used when the hospital is struggling to cope with demand.

Throughout the month bed occupancy rates never dropped below 91.8 per cent, despite 85 per cent being considered the point at which patients are likely to acquire infections within hospitals.

And patients in ambulances also faced long waits, with one in eight left outside for half an hour or longer.

A spokesman for Bedford Hospital said: “We are currently under sustained pressure for patients requiring admission to hospital. This pressure is similar to our neighbouring hospitals and reflects the national position.

“We made detailed plans for this winter and have opened additional beds across the hospital in anticipation of this increased demand and supported this with increased quality rounds to ensure patients are safe and comfortable.

“However, this winter has seen an increasing amount of severely ill patients that require admission to hospital, and despite the plans put in place our bed occupancy levels reached 100 per cent on two occasions. This impacts on patient flow through the hospital and results in patients waiting longer in A&E.

“Despite these challenges patient care has not been compromised and we have clinical oversight of all patients in A&E at all times.”