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Delayed hospital discharges costing NHS £455m a year, says Labour

Delayed discharges from hospital are costing the NHS £455 million a year, Labour has warned.

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said NHS England data showed that delayed discharges soared from 58,362 in October 2010 to 134,221 in October 2016.

Mr Ashworth said this had cost the NHS £455,809,950 in the 12 months to October.

The Labour MP said 4,568 people were "trapped" in hospital beds on the last Thursday in October, despite being well enough to leave.

Mr Ashworth warned that 1,489,575 days were lost due to delayed discharges in the year to October.

He said that with each excess bed day costing £306, the money spent on delayed discharges could have paid for 10,775 nurses.

Mr Ashworth said: "For many people, Christmas is a time to spend at home with family and friends. Sadly, thousands of older people this Christmas will be stuck on hospital wards as a result of Tory failure.

"The Government is letting older people down by failing to provide much-needed investment for social care.

"The crisis in our social care system is having a knock-on effect on overstretched hospitals and GP surgeries, and patients deserve better."

A Government spokesman said: "No-one should be in hospital unnecessarily - and so to rise to the challenge of an ageing population, we're ensuring the money available to local authorities for social care increases every year, and by up to £3.5 billion extra in 2020.

"The Government is also investing an extra £10 billion to fund the NHS's own plan for the future to reduce pressure on hospitals - sadly, Labour committed to neither."

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