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Coping with the increased demand for winter beds in the NHS

Every year in the UK, hospitals see a surge in demand for beds during winter. Last year, there was a real concern of hospitals being able to cope with the increased demand for winter beds, with Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, saying that hospitals could struggle to cope if a major flu outbreak occurs.

Winter sees a spike in illnesses mainly amongst the ageing population which often requires a trip to hospital and an overnight stay. Healthcare providers often struggle to meet the demand for beds and NHS Improvement (NHSI), the health service regulator, has previously said more needed to be done to ensure hospitals were able to provide safe care during winter.

Will the pressure be the same again this year?

According to Nuffield Trust, last year, there were on average 3,908 escalation beds (additional beds brought into service in order to accommodate extra patients) open every day of the winter of 2017/18 – equivalent to opening an additional 5.7 hospital trusts.

However, a lot of the time, the beds are available but space isn’t utilised in the most efficient way and so the beds often go unused. The problem can therefore be overcome by reconfiguring existing areas or creating completely new spaces in previously unused areas for beds to be placed in. For example, making use of large corridors or areas in which spare beds are stored.

Westgate’s Hoardfast range can be used to create rooms within unused hospital spaces or to better segregate existing spaces; creating rooms that can be used as a ward for the sick. This would relieve the overburdened NHS and lessen the demands of winter. Because the Hoardfast range features hygienic components and simple click-together installation, it is suitable for use in hospital environments. Crucially, it has infection control approval which means it can be used to segregate high-risk patients when it comes to infection. This is due to to the tongue and groove joint system used to click the hoarding panels together which provides a tight seal. Westgate’s Hoardfast PVC is the most cost-effective and hygienic product to use to create temporary wards in hospitals during winter. This is because it is completely wipeable on both sides.


Fire rated panel options are available and help comply with health and safety regulations. All of Westgate’s systems are supplied in a range of floor to ceiling heights with window and door options also available as required.

For complete convenience and to cope with the changing demands of the hospital environment, the panels can be easily taken down, relocated and reconfigured without any lasting damage.

Additionally, no paint, sawdust or mess is involved during the installation process (which is also quick and easy) which means it doesn’t disrupt surrounding areas and patient care can continue.

The Westgate team is familiar with the strict requirements of a hospital environment, which has played a central part in our hoarding design. Many of our hoarding systems have a 2.7m standard panel height option which is specifically created for regulation hospital ceiling height. If alternative heights are required, the panels are pre-cut, off-site, to further reduce risk in the hospital environment.

Contact us to find out more about our temporary partition wall for hospitals.

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