A leading doctor has said that community services in the National Health Service need to be improved before beds can be cut.
This follows the news that at least one local hospital has had more full beds than the recommended limit in a difficult winter for the NHS.
Dr. Richard Taylor, a former MP and member of the Health Select Committee, said the process had been done in reverse.
"This is the idea that more could be done in the community," he told Paul Ross, "that GPs could do more and that would be cheaper than having people in hospital. But you have to improve community services BEFORE you close hospital beds.
"It's been done the other way around. Obviously people want to be looked after at home rather than go to hospital. And they say it's cheaper. But when you think of the number of people you need to have to visit people at home regularly, it's not cheaper in the long run.
"We are desperately short of hospital beds now."