• Worcestershire Acute says its need another 208 beds this winter
  • Without increase trust says will have average 120 per cent occupancy over winter
  • Comes as CEO resigns and Dame Julie Moore joins the board

A struggling hospital trust says it will not have enough beds for one in every six patients this winter without a drastic increase in capacity or intervention.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust says it needs an extra 208 beds, increasing its current bed base by nearly a third, to reach relatively safe occupancy levels of 91 per cent.

The national recommended safe bed occupancy rate is below 85 per cent.

The predictions are included in the trust’s winter plan, which was presented to the board on Thursday.

Without extra beds or a major diversion of urgent demand, the trust predicts bed occupancy would average 120 per cent between October and March, peaking at 131 per cent.

However, if regional winter schemes identified thus far work as planned, the need for additional beds will drop to between 60 and 95 beds. But occupancy would still average above 100 per cent, peaking at 113 per cent.

Winter schemes planned include increasing overnight GP streaming at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, opening 28 “surge” beds from December and reducing elective surgeries over the Christmas period.

In addition, CCGs have given the trust a one-off £3.5m boost for winter, but trust warns the cost of the schemes identified will likely exceed this sum.

Worcestershire Acute has struggled with performance, governance and finance. It is rated inadequate and is in quality special measures.

Last month, its chief executive Michelle McKay announced she would leave in December this year, following her chair’s resignation earlier in the year.

The trust has also recently recruited two senior NHS figures, former NHS England chief executive Sir David Nicholson and former University Hospitals Birmingham FT chief executive Dame Julie Moore, to the board.

A trust spokesman stressed the more extreme forecasts were based on no intervention, and the trust already had many winter schemes in place.

He said: ”Although we expect the winter to be extremely challenging across Worcestershire, we have a much more detailed understanding of the scale of that challenge than we have had in previous years, and we are working in partnership across our local system to put in place the most robust plan we can.”

”In terms of financial planning, in developing the system wide plan we are working with our partners to identify how any funding we expect to be available might be used most effectively. As part of our contingency planning we are also looking at options which would potentially require additional funding.”