How many hospital beds are there in the UK
Readers of our popular article How many hospitals in the UK have been asking for additional data relating to hospital bed numbers. In particular, how many hospital beds are there in the UK, how many beds per capita and the average number of beds per hospital.
To answer the first query of how many beds there are in total in the UK, we gathered data from several reputable sources  and used the most recent information available for each NHS Trust. In some cases, the data includes the increased capacity put in place to cope with the coronavirus crisis. The total number of hospital beds in the UK is 170,548, correct at the time of publishing this article in April 2020.
|Hospitals||Hospital beds||Population |
To look more closely at this data, we also delved into how many hospital beds there were in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
|UK region||Hospitals||Hospital beds|
As the map shows, England has the most hospital beds at 135,574, Scotland has the 2nd most with 20,533. Wales has 10,562 hospital beds and Northern Ireland has 3,879.
Hospital beds per person
Some people are interested in how many hospital beds there are per person in the UK and in each region.
Using the UK data above, you can see that this equates to 1 hospital bed per 390 people in the UK, or 0.0026% of a bed per person!
Looking at the individual regions, again variety seems to be the spice of life. Northern Ireland has the least hospital beds per person, with only 1 bed for 485 people. Scotland has the most beds with 1 bed for every 265 people.
Average number of beds per hospital
From this data, we can calculate that the average number of beds in an average UK hospital (if there is such a thing!), is 136 beds per hospital. This figure varies considerably from region to region, with England having the most beds per hospital at 159 and Scotland having less than half this number at only 74.
|UK region||Average beds per hospital|
This variation was outlined briefly in the How many hospitals in the UK article, which stated that the smaller number of hospitals per capita in England was explained by the fact that the hospitals in England are much larger. The higher number of hospitals per person in Scotland is due to there being many more, smaller hospitals to treat the more remote population, living across a much wider area.
Hospitals with the most beds
We were also interested to see which hospitals have the most beds. The following list shows the top 20 UK hospitals with the most hospital beds:
|UK hospital||Hospital beds|
|1.||Manchester Royal Infirmary||1,721|
|2.||Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow||1,560|
|3.||Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham||1,300|
|4.||St George’s Hospital, London||1,300|
|5.||University Hospital Coventry||1,250|
|6.||Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital||1,237|
|7.||Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham||1,215|
|8.||Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth||1,200|
|9.||Royal Stoke Hospital||1,183|
|10.||Royal Derby Hospital||1,159|
|11.||Leeds General Infirmary||1,103|
|12.||Northern General Hospital, Sheffield||1,100|
|13.||University Hospital Southampton||1,100|
|14.||Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge||1,000|
|15.||Southmead Hospital Bristol||996|
|16.||Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France||992|
|17.||Sunderland Royal Hospital||970|
|18.||King’s College Hospital, London||950|
|19.||University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff||941|
|20.||Royal Free Hospital||900|
 Hospital bed data
- NHS England Hospital bed data
- Hospital bed data provided by Welsh Government
- Hospital bed data provided by Public Health Scotland
- Hospital bed data provided by Northern Ireland Department of Health
- Care Quality Commission reports
- Individual NHS Trust websites and annual reports
- Responses to Freedom of Information requests from each NHS Trust
 UK population data
Latest UK population data was sourced from ONS, last updated 23 August 2019