NHS hospitals clogged with ‘record number’ of bed blockers who can go home

HOSPITALS are clogged with a record number of “bed-blockers” who are fit to go home, NHS figures show.

Nurses are holding their second consecutive day of strike action today, with thousands of staff protesting working conditions and pay.

NHS hospital awards are "full to bursting"nursing chiefs warn

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NHS hospital awards are “full to bursting”, nursing chiefs warnCredit: PA

Delayed discharges from wards are a top cause of the chaos in the health service.

A lack of carers and community help means an average of 14,052 people have been stuck in hospital in the past two weeks – taking up one in every seven beds.

NHS medical director, Professor Sir Stephen Powis, said: “The NHS remains under significant pressure, with a high number of beds occupied and people in hospital who are medically fit to leave.”

The number of hospital patients who “no longer meet the criteria to reside” is 12 per cent higher than this time last year.

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Many people need to have care at home or help to make their house safe after they are discharged from hospital.

Nurses cannot let the patients go until these things have been done and staff shortages in the NHS and social care are delaying the process.

In some areas just three in 10 people get sent home on time.

The Royal College of Nursing warned hospitals are “full to bursting”.

Saffron Cordery, chief of NHS Providers, said: “Bed occupancy remains very high with nearly 19 in 20 beds occupied.

“This problem is compounded by the fact that, every day, more than 14,000 medically fit patients cannot leave hospital.

“Staff are incredibly concerned that this could impact patient care as those levels are far above what’s safe – more beds are desperately needed.

“The £250million announced by the government to free up beds is welcome, given the urgent need to ease pressures, but this needs to reach the frontline without delay.”

Other NHS statistics show pressure on A&E and ambulances has reduced since the Christmas period.

The amount of time paramedics wasted waiting to hand patients over to casualty dropped by 60 per cent from 36,000 hours to 14,000 last week.

Health services are still being blighted by strikes, with thousands of appointments and operations canceled this week during nurse walkouts.

Ambulance staff will strike again on Monday and both 999 crews and nurses will join forces on the pickets on February 6 in the biggest health strike ever.

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Patricia Marquis, director at the Royal College of Nursing, said: “This data shows exactly why nurses across the country are standing up for their patients and joining picket lines.

“It is time the Prime Minister and his ministers drop the tired rhetoric, do their jobs and negotiate with nurses.”

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