Health Secretary orders hospitals to tackle bed-blocking scandal

The Health Secretary has ordered hospitals to tackle weekend bed-blocking as he hinted the NHS is in line for more cash in today’s Budget.

Steve Barclay said bosses are failing to discharge enough medically fit patients on Saturdays and Sundays, when staffing levels are typically lower.

He told the NHS Providers conference in Liverpool that a £500million discharge fund announced in September will be distributed from the start of next month.

The money will be used to get more patients out of hospital by paying for extra physiotherapy sessions or hiring carers to help them cook and wash in their own home.

NHS England figures show there were an average of 10,211 discharges a day on weekdays in the four weeks from October 3 to October 30.

But there were only 6,828 a day at weekends — 33 per cent fewer.

It comes after the country’s leading A&E doctor warned that hospitals are so full it is harming elderly patients.

Dr Adrian Boyle said he was desperate to keep his parents out of hospital…

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