Labour blasts surge in NHS bed-blocking

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The number of hospital beds unavailable because of so-called “bed blockers” has increased by more than 9,000 in a year, Labour has warned.

During November 56,129 bed days were lost due to delayed transfers of care, 9,444 more than the previous year, according to the party’s analysis of new NHS data.

Thousands of elderly people are “trapped” in hospital because social care services are not able to support them once they are discharged, Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham said.

“Winter has only just begun and hospitals are already full to bursting,” he added.

“This year, thousands more older people are trapped on wards when they are well enough to leave hospital. David Cameron’s severe cuts to social care services have left older people without adequate support to return home.”

NHS England’s latest winter health check report says some of the emergency funds allocated to help the winter A&E crisis will help social care integrate better with the NHS to help prevent delayed discharges.