Large number of beds taken up by patients ready to be discharged

NHS England has revealed that the number of beds taken up by patients fit to be discharged is more than a quarter higher than the start of December last year.

Nearly every day last week, more than 13,000 beds were filled by patients who did not meet the criteria to remain in hospital. The average was 13,364, which is up from 13,179 over the previous seven days, and up from 10,510 the same time last year.

There was also a 40 per cent increase in the number of patients in hospital with flu compared to the following week. There was an average of 482 flu cases in hospital each day last week.

The occupancy rate for General and Acute adult bed occupancy is 95.4 per cent, compared to 93.8 per cent at the same time last year.

There is an 89.6 per cent occupancy rate in paediatric intensive care, compared to 82.5 per cent at the beginning of December last year.

Professor Sir Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said: “These new figures show the NHS is facing a perfect storm with winter virus cases rapidly increasing alongside ongoing pressures in emergency care, hugely constrained bed capacity, while hospitals continue to contend with more patients coming in than going out, with thousands of patients every day in hospital who are medically fit for discharge.

“We have already said we expect this to be the NHS’s most challenging winter yet, which is why we started preparing earlier than ever before with extensive plans in place to deal with winter boosting bed capacity, including more than 40 control centres to track and manage demand 24/7, which are now live across England.

“The public can also play its part by using NHS services in the usual way – dialling 999 in an emergency and using 111 online for other health conditions – with vaccines remaining an important protection against serious illness, so please come forward if you’re eligible.”


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