A damning report today exposes the growing problem of delayed transfers of care or  bed blocking which is up 30% on the same period last year.

More than 280,000 elderly patients were stuck in hospital this winter after Tory budget cuts triggered an “unprecedented” social care crisis.

From bed to worse: Elderly patients are left in limbo

Almost 70% of nurses admitted they were “frequently” delaying discharging older patients because there was no one to care for them at home or in the community.Nearly all of the NHS staff described it as a “serious” problem and 82% said it had got worse in the past year.

Older persons’ charity the Royal Voluntary Service, which provided the figures, said more then 4,000 patients were blocking beds everyday. This winter delays in hospital discharge reached unprecedented levels, with lack of support for older people after hospital, a root cause.

The Tory – led Coalition has slashed £1 billion from social care budgets, leaving hospitals struggling to arrange support from care workers and district nurses. The Government insisted it had given the NHS an extra £700 million this winter to fund extra staff and beds. Yet today’s report found 40% of older patients ended up languishing in hospital when they were fit to be discharged. Experts said being left in limbo in such ways was extremely distressing.

This scandal is also having a huge impact on A&E waiting times because there are fewer beds for new admissions.