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How many hospital beds are there in the UK

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. 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 170,548, correct at the time of publishing this article in April 2020.

Hospitals Hospital beds Population [2]
UK 1,257 170,548 66,435,000

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 854 135,574
Scotland 279 20,553
Wales 83 10,562
Northern Ireland 41 3,879

How many hospital beds per UK region

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.

UK people per hospital bed

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
England 159
Scotland 74
Wales 127
Northern Ireland 95

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 MRI 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. 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. University Hospital of Wales (UHW) 1,100
15. Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge 1,000
16. Southmead Hospital Bristol 996
17. Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France 992
18. Sunderland Royal Hospital 970
19. King’s College Hospital, London 950
20. Royal Free Hospital 900
20. Derriford Hospital 900


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[1] Hospital bed data

[2] UK population data

Latest UK population data was sourced from ONS, last updated 23 August 2019

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