• Derbyshire made plans in 2016 to cut more than 500 beds
  • Recent draft report reveals number of beds in area has continued to grow
  • Also states area is “overly-reliant on bed-based care” and “outlier” for care home admissions

Plans to cut more than 500 beds from Derbyshire have been abandoned after NHS leaders admitted such measures were “no longer credible”.

Joined Up Care Derbyshire, Derbyshire’s sustainability and transformation partnership, stated in its 2016 five-year strategic plan that it wanted to reduce its bed numbers from 1,771 to 1,236 by 2020-21.

However, a draft version of its new five-year plan revealed this is no longer achievable, and, not only has the number of beds in the area grown, it may need almost 300 further beds by 2024 if nothing is done to reduce pressures on the local system. 

The report stated: “The 535 beds calculation originally submitted in the Derbyshire STP is no longer credible.

“The landscape has changed since then and we have done further modelling on growth of admissions which shows that if we do nothing and activity grows by 4.2 per cent then we will need 2,546 beds in the Derbyshire system in five years’ time compared with 2,345 today, an increase of 286 beds.

“The 2,546 figures quoted are total beds across the system, including community, mental health and acute beds.”

Although the report stated there has been reductions in some in-patient and pathway 3 beds since 2016, there was still a “reliance on acute and community (health and social care) beds placing patient safety at risk as alternatives are not clear, easy to access or responsive and integrated”.

The 2016 report claimed half of acute non-elective, 60 per cent of community hospital, 33 per cent of adult mental health, and three-quarters of dementia bed days could be treated in alternative settings.

However, the new five-year plan stated that the Derbyshire system is “overly-reliant on bed-based care”, naming Derbyshire as an “outlier” for the numbers of people admitted to care homes. It also stated there were “too many people with dementia (who) continue to be hospitalised” and “elderly patients sometimes spend too long in bed-based care”.

The draft five-year plan closed to public consultation at the end of last month with a final version due for submission to NHS England and Improvement on Friday.

In a statement, Vikki Taylor, Derbyshire STP director, said: “In the three years since the draft plan was developed, our proposals have evolved in line with changing local circumstances, but our priorities of treating more people in the community and helping people avoid a lengthy stay in hospital remain.”

HSJ reported on Wednesday the publication of STP plans is likely to be delayed by a month, partly due to election publication restrictions.