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BMC Public Health

, 6:108

First Online: 26 April 2006Received: 05 December 2005Accepted: 26 April 2006DOI: 10.1186-1471-2458-6-108

Cite this article as: Challen, K. & Walter, D. BMC Public Health 2006 6: 108. doi:10.1186-1471-2458-6-108


BackgroundSince October 2002 in the UK Primary Care Trusts PCTs have had statutory responsibility for having and maintaining a Major Incident plan and since 2005 they have been obliged to co-operate with other responders to an incident. We aimed to establish the number of beds in our Trust which could be freed up over set periods of time in the event of a major incident and the nature and quantity of support which might be required from PCTs in order to achieve this.

MethodsRepeated survey over 12 days in 3 months of hospital bed occupancy by type of condition and discharge capacity in an 855-bed UK tertiary teaching hospital also providing secondary care services. Outcome measures were bed spaces which could be generated, timescale over which this could happen and level and type of PCT support which would be required to achieve this.

ResultsMean beds available were 78 immediately, a further 69 in 1–4 hours and a further 155 in 4–12 hours, generating a total of 302 beds 36% of hospital capacity within 12 hours of an incident. This would require support from a PCT of 150,000 population of 10 nursing care beds, 20 therapy-supported intermediate care beds, and 25 care packages in patients- own homes.

ConclusionIn order to fulfill the requirements of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, PCTs should plan to have surge capacity in the order of 30 residential placements and 25 community support packages per 150,000 population to support Acute Trusts in the event of a major incident.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-2458-6-108 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Kirsty Challen - Darren Walter


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