A hospital has conceded it needs more than 100 extra beds to cope with demand, leaving staff under 'intense pressure' with chiefs making arrangements to set up temporary ward accommodation.
The Observer has learned that the body which runs Northwick Park Hospital, in Watford Road, Harrow, met in January, and discussed what documents summarising the meeting from the North West London Hospitals NHS Trust described as 'the necessity to provide additional beds to address the underlying capacity gap and unacceptable high levels of occupancy' currently in the hospital, identifying the need for 123 more beds.
Chief operating officer of the hospital Chris Pocklington said: “The trust currently has little spare capacity and there are times when we do not have the flexibility to move patients out of our emergency department within the governments four hour target.
"This means that patients may wait longer in a bed in the emergency department before being moved onto a ward. Patient care is not compromised but we would like to be able settle patients onto a ward as soon as we can."
The hospital has already opened an additional 40 beds at Northwick Park and local clinical commissioning groups have also provided more beds in the community to support the movement of patients.
Northwick Park also have plans to add a further 20 beds which will be ready for patients by September.
Mr Pocklington added: “We are also planning for the future and we have identified the need for 123 additional beds to help us accommodate our current needs along with changes that are happening across the whole of the North West London region, following the conclusion of last year’s wider NHS consultation 'Shaping a Healthier Future', which concluded that Northwick Park would become a major acute site.”
Gareth Thomas, Labour MP for Harrow West, recently spoke in the House of Commons to raise concerns about the amount of NHS funding Harrow receives, highlighting that there is an expected funding shortfall of £23.4 million for Northwick Park incoming in each of the next two financial years.
Mr Thomas has since been in dialogue with hospital chiefs over his concerns, said: “These board minutes reveal that Northwick Park is under intense pressure which will be of considerable concern to Harrow residents and is a further sign that after four years of this Tory-led government Harrow is simply not getting its fair allocation of NHS funding.
"It’s time David Cameron explained why he prioritised a £3billion top-down re-organisation and privatisation of the NHS over improving patient care in areas such as ours."
The news comes after the trust was recently rated as one of the five worst trusts for A&E waiting times in the country after failing to achieve the government’s target of seeing 95 per cent of patients within four hours.