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How many hospital beds are there in the UK [Updated March 2024]

How many hospital beds are there in the UK [Updated March 2024]

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. Find out which is the biggest hospital in the UK in terms of hospital beds…

To answer the first query of how many beds there are in total in the UK, we gathered data from several reputable sources [1] 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 around 160,642, correct at the time of publishing this article in March 2024.

Hospitals Hospital beds Population [2]
UK 1,148 160,642 67,026,000

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
England 704 130,528
Scotland 105 13,587
Wales 84 10,400
Northern Ireland 37 6127

As the map shows, England has the most hospital beds at 130,528, Scotland has the 2nd most with 13,587. Wales has 10,400 hospital beds and Northern Ireland has 6,127.

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 417 people in the UK, or 0.27% of a bed per person!

Looking at the individual regions, again variety seems to be the spice of life. England has the least hospital beds per person, with only 1 bed for 433 people. Wales has the most beds with 1 bed for every 299 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 173 beds per hospital. This figure varies considerably from region to region, with England having the most beds per hospital at 185 and Wales having the least at 124 average beds per hospital.

UK region Average beds per hospital
England 185
Scotland 129
Wales 124
Northern Ireland 170

Interestingly, Northern Ireland has a large number of average beds per hospital. Despite the small area, reduced amount of hospitals, the available beds appear to be greater than that of Scotland and Wales. As expected, England has the highest amount of average beds per hospital, due to many more hospitals, and a larger population to provide services for.

 

We were also interested to see which hospitals have the most beds.  The Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow is the biggest hospital in the UK in terms of amount of beds! The following list shows the top 20 UK hospitals with the most hospital beds:

UK hospital Hospital beds
1. Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow 1,667
2. Southampton General Hospital 1,369
3. St George’s Hospital, London 1,300
4. Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham 1,215
5. Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital 1,200
6. Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth 1,200
7. Royal Derby Hospital 1,159
8. St James’s University Hospital, Leeds 1,157
9. Royal Stoke Hospital 1,110
10. University Hospital of Wales 1,119
11. Northern General Hospital, Sheffield 1,100
12. Manchester Royal Infirmary 1,093
13. James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough 1,024
14. University Hospital Coventry 1,005
15. Southmead Hospital Bristol 1,000
16. Derriford Hospital, Plymouth 1,000
17. Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham 914
18. Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh 896
19. Royal Free hospital, London 830
20. Sunderland Royal Hospital 814

This information is accurate in relation to the available information, these figures have been obtained from FOI requests, online research, reports and NHS websites. Dates of last available information varies.

 


Hospital bed

Read more 

How Many Hospitals In The UK?

Interesting Notes on AI In Healthcare

Checklist: Patient Care After Hospital Discharge

 


Sources[1] Hospital bed data

[2] UK population data

Latest UK population data was sourced from ONS, last updated 21 December 2022

 

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