The number of hospital beds in Wales has dropped by a third in less than 20 years, but roughly twice as many patients are receiving hospital treatment. A summary of statistics from Wales published last week shows that the number of beds fell by 8,000 to 15,000 between 1980 and 1997-98. Inpatient admissions rose from less than 400,000 to just over 500,000, while the number of day cases jumped from about 25,000 to more than 300,000. Average lengths of stay tumbled from 18 days to just over eight days.

A Statistical Focus on Wales: 1999 edition . Stationery Office.£10.