The figures reveal that 4,175 bed days were lost to delayed discharges from Westminster and City of London hospitals (Imperial College Healthcare, Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital, Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, UCL Hospital) in May 2023. Of these, the majority of bed days lost involved patients who had been stuck in hospital for three weeks or more.
Delayed discharges take place when medically fit patients are unable to leave hospital, often due to a lack of social care. Across the country, the NHS lost over 128,800 bed days to delayed discharges from hospital, up 32% on the same period last year.
The Liberal Democrats warned that the government’s failure to tackle the social care crisis was having a “disastrous” impact on local NHS services, piling pressure on hospitals while elderly and vulnerable patients are left waiting for the care they need. The party is calling for the introduction of a Carer’s Minimum Wage, set at £2 above the minimum wage, to help address the huge number of job vacancies in social care.
Liberal Democrat spokesperson Edward Lucas said:
“These worrying figures show the disastrous impact the social care crisis is having on our local health services.
“Far too many elderly and vulnerable people are ending up stuck in hospital when they are ready to leave, because there simply isn’t the care available for them at home or in the community.
“This is causing unneeded pain and distress while piling even more pressure on our already overstretched hospitals,
“The Liberal Democrats know that you can’t fix the crisis in the NHS without fixing the crisis in social care. We want to see the Government start valuing carers properly by bringing in a Carer’s Minimum Wage. This would help reduce soaring vacancies in social care and tackle the crisis facing the NHS.”