Around 14,000 beds in NHS hospitals are still occupied by patients who are fit enough to go home, the latest NHS figures have stated. The shocking occupancy by the patients adds to the woes of those who have been on the waiting list to get a bed at several hospitals across the country.
The data revealed by the NHS show that an average of 13,989 beds were last week occupied by patients who were fit for discharge.
The number is up from 13,566 the previous week and close to the record 14,069 in the seven days to January 8.
Last month the Government announced that the NHS is being given £250m to buy thousands of beds in care homes and upgrade hospitals amid a winter crisis.
It was believed that the move will free up 2,500 hospital beds so patients can be admitted more quickly from A&E.
However, health experts have warned that the NHS continues to remain in a “grim position” with patients trying to get into the hospital at a faster rate than others are leaving.
Data suggests that 93.8 percent of hospital beds were occupied last week, which is above the 85 percent considered safe.
Dr Layla McCay director of policy at the NHS Confederation told MailOnline: “Ahead of the worst week of industrial action to hit the NHS, health leaders are worried that the service is under very high pressure.
“Cases of flu are on the decline but NHS 111, ambulance arrivals to A&E, and hospital bed occupancy remain stubbornly high.
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“Despite the government investment, nearly 14,000 medically-fit patients are still in beds they do not need to be in and this is not helped by the funding to help discharge them coming far too late in the day to make a meaningful difference.
“Health leaders are determined to put this to best use and to do everything they can to improve performance but the NHS is only part of the solution – far more attention is needed on what is leading to so many people needing to come into contact with urgent and emergency services in the first place.
“Add the prospect of further waves of industrial action that will only increase in severity of disruption unless the government shows willingness to negotiate with the unions and the fear is that the NHS will forever be in this grim position where people are coming into the health system in need of care at a greater rate than they are leaving it.”
The delay in getting a bed at the hospitals has also caused mortalities.
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According to MailOnline, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine has warned up to 500 people a week are dying due to treatment and ambulance delays.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had said cutting NHS waiting times was one of his five main priorities.
He had said: “We have an ambitious and credible plan.”
An NHS spokesperson told MailOnline: “While funding to improve patient discharge has just been made available, NHS staff are doing everything in their power to discharge patients when they are medically fit to do so – including through innovative initiatives like the ‘100 day discharge challenge ‘ which resulted in the number of hospital-related delays reducing by a quarter.
“But social care continues to face significant challenges which inevitably is having a knock-on impact and the NHS is working closely with social care colleagues to ensure they have the capacity to receive patients from hospital.”