Bed blockers take up more space than Covid patients in England’s overwhelmed hospitals

Bed blockers are taking up more space than Covid patients in England’s overwhelmed hospitals, it has emerged, as the Government was urged to do more to fund social care.

Chris Hopson, the chief executive of NHS Providers, warned there were 20,000 medically fit patients who were ready to be discharged, but currently have nowhere to go. The number has approximately doubled since December when around 10,000 patients were waiting to leave the hospital. 

Latest NHS England figures for April showed there are currently around 88,000 patients in NHS hospital beds, but the new figures show nearly one quarter do not need to be there.

In contrast, there are around 15,000 Covid patients in hospital, of which roughly 8,500 were admitted for a different reason, with coronavirus admissions falling since the beginning of April.

In a lengthy Twitter thread on Sunday, Mr Hopson said the NHS was ‘facing major difficulties’ and warned that a ‘major contributory factor’ was the inability to promptly discharge thousands of medically fit patients.

“(The) NHS has been working really hard to improve discharge and flow, but finding this difficult,” he said.

“We need right funding, right size of workforce, right support for social care, right level of NHS capacity to meet growing demand and a funded change programme.”

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